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Category: newsSource: philstar philstarSep 16th, 2020

Aljun Melecio s never-ending quest to prove he belongs

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

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

UAAP 81: When the sleeping giant named UP finally awakened

No cheering - that's the cardinal rule for sportswriters during coverages. In collegiate sports, not even your very own alma mater song is spared. Still, on November 28, 2018, I thought this one time could be an exception to the rule. After all, more than half of the Araneta Coliseum had their hands raised in singing "UP Naming Mahal." Certainly, not one more fist in the air could be considered conspicuous. After all, the University of the Philippines Men's Basketball Team was letting it all out right there on the court. Certainly, not one more show of emotion could be out of place. And after all, the Fighting Maroons had just done it. It, being seeing a new dawn after the so-called dark days. FROM FIGHTING TO WINNING UAAP 81 started very much like how many, many UP seasons did in recent memory. There was a lot of hope, no doubt, what with Paul Desiderio in his last year, Bright Akhuetie in his first year, Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi being back for more, and Bo Perasol still at the helm. Only, being a fan of the Fighting Maroons also meant you know full well all of it couldn't be true. History is a lesson to be learned - and from the promise of Migs De Asis, Mike Gamboa, Martin Reyes, and great Filipino-American hope Mike Silungan and the potential of Mikee Reyes, Woody Co, and Kyles Lao, Diliman has learned many, many lessons, indeed. And then, the season started. A season-opening win became a 1-3 standing. A 3-3 record worsened to 3-5. Standing at an even 5-5 in the stretch run then led to winning three of the last four games in the elimination round. And before you knew it, UP, yes, UP was knocking on the door of the Final Four. Could this be it? Or could this be just the biggest disappointment the Fighting Maroons had ever served? FROM WINNING TO LOSING A winning tradition could be taken for granted. Coming from a school down south that was, is, and forever linked to a particular powerhouse, I, personally, was very much used to winning. Even more, I was right there when Joshua (or Dave, as we called him) Webb, Jeric Fortuna, and Jed Manguera led the team formerly known as the Bengals to a breakthrough championship. So, yeah, personally, my tradition was to root for a winning team - be it in the Jrs. or in the Srs. Come college, though, I traded in the shield of green and white for the luntian at pulang sagisag magpakailanman. And hey, UP Diliman is and always will be the best school in the history of man, in my eyes. In terms of basketball, though, it left much to be desired. As I was about to go to college, the Fighting Maroons went winless in back-to-back years. And then, they had three-win seasons when I was a freshie and a sophomore. In all my four years in college, I only experienced eight wins out of 56. So yeah, in State U, there was the exact opposite of a winning tradition. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't get me wrong here. UP is a power in many, many sports and is a contender for the general championship year in and year out. Back then, though, forgive me if I only had eyes for men's basketball.) FROM JETT TO PAUL And then, a ray of light shone bright, and brighter, and brighter. I have now grown to love Mikee Reyes - he is a great guy and a good analyst. Back then, though, he was a prime proof of what wasn't working in UP. Here was a talent who had a shot at making a name for himself and taking his team along with him for the ride, but unfortunately, just could not put it all together. Reyes was just one of many, many promising players in maroon and green who didn't have the sort of support that a winning tradition entailed. True to their name, though, the Fighting Maroons kept, well, fighting. And in his last year, Jett Manuel proved that the tides could turn in their favor. Manuel would never be the best player on De La Salle University or Ateneo de Manila University or even University of Sto. Tomas and Far Eastern University. Still, he gave his all game in and game out and grew to be a beloved player and leader in Diliman. He set the standard for the kind of fight a Maroon should have and in his last year, steered his squad to a fifth-place finish at 5-9. Not a finish to be proud of by any means, but for the first time in a long time, there were signs of life coming from State U. And that's when I knew Jett Manuel would be my forever King Maroon. However, just two years later, Paul Desiderio made me question that. FROM THEN TO NOW Definitely, Paul Desiderio is not Jett Manuel. Jett is eloquent and looks like he came from an exclusive private school, which he did. Paul speaks in short but sweet terms and is very much proud of his roots in Cebu. What they both have, though, is an undeniable love for UP and an unwavering determination to lead the Fighting Maroons to where they belong. When Manuel left, of course, the reins went to Desiderio and in his very first game as main man, he proved his worth. I know you know what I'm going to talk about - because this was the time he uttered the words that would define State U from that point onto the foreseeable future. "Atin to, papasok to!" -- Paul Desiderio during the timeout. Moments later...#UAAPSeason80 pic.twitter.com/7yafSpldJM — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 10, 2017 The maroon and green yet again fell short of the Final Four that year, but come next season, a playoff berth was, indeed, theirs for the taking. Downing La Salle in the very last game of the elims, they booked a trip to the next round for the first time since 1997. That would have been more than enough for their long-suffering faithful, but they did themselves one better - actually, two better - and upset second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University. Just like that, UP would be playing in its first Finals since the days of Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joe Lipa. That day, November 28, 2018, would always live on with me. FROM ME TO YOU As bad as I wanted to break the cardinal rule for sportswriters, I didn't. As bad as I wanted to stay on the floor to listen and live in the chorus singing in harmony, "Mabuhay ang pag-asa ng bayan," I couldn't. When UP made history, I had to go back to the press room and finish my full take on the game. Just minutes before, I honestly couldn't believe the breaking report I was working on in my phone and uploading in our website. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even with the final stat sheet in my hands, I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Even through writing "those back-to-back wins have set up for them a date with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University in the best-of-three Finals slated for Saturday at the MOA Arena," I still couldn't believe it. Really? The Fighting Maroons had done it. Of course, in the very end, Ateneo was Ateneo and State U had to settle for second-place. Still, there may not be another silver medal that was worth celebrating more. You have to understand that again, this is a team not that far off from its dark days - so, yeah, this silver season was a special season. And so, at the very end of Season 81, when I saw Paul standing on the game officials' table, basking in the UP community's cries of "De-si-de-rio" and "A-tin-to," another chant was playing in my head - "You deserve it." This image, would always live on with me. At the same time, though, I was a firsthand witness to another image that told me this was just the beginning. First Finals appearance, first Finals loss. Fo sho, GDL brothers @javigdl22 and @juan_swish9 will only be better from this. #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/CMV0JH30rh — No Work Normie Riego (@riegogogo) December 5, 2018 Juan and Javi GDL sat on the makeshift awarding stage while the Blue Eagles were enjoying their back-to-back championships and Desiderio was being serenaded by the Fighting Maroons' faithful. Their eyes were welling up with tears, but deep down there, you could also see their determination to be back, to be better, and to say themselves "Atin 'to" to a championship. FROM HERE ON OUT UAAP 81 was Ateneo's, no doubt about that. UAAP 82, when UP was supposedly stronger, was still Ateneo's, yet again no doubt about that. Actually, the Fighting Maroons were even owned by runner-up UST that year - and those Growling Tigers had a Cinderella tale to tell of their own. And yet, for my money, no team in recent memory has won over everybody quite like Paul Desiderio's UP Fighting Maroons. Maybe, just maybe, that's all because I'm an Isko with student no. 2008-6*1*5. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see a sleeping giant awakened - now knowledgeable of how to build a team and now knowledgeable how to put up support for that team. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to see homegrown stars like Diego Dario and the GDLs stay home and play home and to see a foreign student-athlete like Akhuetie shine bright both as a student and as an athlete. Or maybe, just maybe, it's so good to put your full faith in somebody like Desiderio who truly, madly, and deeply believed "Atin 'to" - even though recent history said otherwise. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. Norman Lee Benjamin Riego has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

After 30 years, a farmer now owns three gardens and provides jobs amid crisis, part 2

In part 1, Mary Ann Cogollo, a farmer from Iloilo, shares about how her 30-year gardening story began and evolved. Here, she talks about the hurdles she had to face that molded her for who she is today.   Trials behind the triumphs At the back of her success is an unsteady, challenging voyage that she had to endure. “It’s 30 years in the making and looking back to what I’ve been through and endured, my heart is full,” said Cogollo. Growing up, Camille, her eldest daughter, saw how she fell and risen many times, she says, “I witnessed how she carried the pails from our wells to water her plants, pull the weeds every day, carried potted plants to hide them because of the heavy storms, how she failed and endured everything, how she learned from her experiences, and how she managed to be a farmer, a gardener, and a mother to us.” A throwback photo of Cogollo taken in 1994 with her 5-year old daughter. Before the birth of the gardens, Cogollo had been gardening alone for 10 years. She did the propagation, watering, and application of fertilizers. It was a challenge for this gardener to find suppliers and to travel the plants from the city to their place, but the hardest to deal with is the weather. “Typhoons and extreme summer are two of the most difficult situations to handle as well as dealing with plant diseases and pests. I failed a lot, some of my plants weren’t a success, but I learned from them,” Cogollo added. Blooming profits The price for the plants in the flower farm ranges from P25 to P10,000 and up. On normal days, they get to sell hundreds of plants every month that differ based on the demand. Most of it is purchased by co-gardeners too. Cogollo said that this season has the highest sales so far to the point that they travel some plants to the other garden to fill the demand. When they opened last month, they were able to dispose of 3000 to 5000 pots, which allowed them to generate a minimum of 50k per day from all the gardens. A mother, farmer, and businesswoman As a mother of two, she lets her children participate in farmwork and immerse themselves in nature at a young age. As per Camille, Cogollo taught her how to plant when she was four and let her have her mini garden at home. Their youngest also helps in raising livestock since he was in grade six. “They let us oversee the farm the same way that my lolo did before. She’s taught me how to plant and to marcot, how to fertilize and water correctly, and educated me what plants can grow from cuttings and what plants need to be in full sun or in shade,” Camille added. Despite the crisis, Cogollo added that God still made a way to provide for her family and their farm workers. She finds herself staring at the sky and thanking God for not leaving her family and the families working for them after two months of farm closure. When many people began growing plants to improve lifestyle amid the crisis, her children told her, “Nay your dream is coming true, farming and gardening are taking its shape, gakatabo na nay (it’s finally happening).” Cogollo only hopes for the public to continue appreciating nature and to start growing plants.   Farming has been her life ever since. The life she chose is the same life lived by her parents and grandparents and according to her, to be able to help others while pursuing your passion is a blessing.  Current situation As the government implemented enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to halt the spread of COVID-19, they had to close their gardens for two months. Since they only allow walk-ins and do not offer delivery services, they had no income from the garden. For Cogollo, those two months were the hardest; there were no landscaping projects but they had to give salaries to the employees every weekend. They thought of stopping their daily farm operations, but their musings brought them back to their primary goal, which is to provide the workers’ livelihood. They hired five more people who lost their jobs during those two months and didn’t stop propagating and maintaining the gardens. All smiles on her farm – As per Cogollo, the crisis allowed them to pause and see what they can do better. Living on a farm is an advantage because it’s COVID-free and their staff live nearby so they carry on with their daily work in the gardens and farm. Fortunately, after two months, a sudden increase in demand for plants began. The crisis has become as she calls it, “a ‘plantdemic’ for Ilonggos.” Their gardens re-opened for visitors when Iloilo was placed under GCQ (general community quarantine). From then on, the farm was amplified by different networks through social media and word of mouth. Despite their location, they were shocked that people kept visiting or asking about their gardens’ location. At some point, they were afraid due to the increasing numbers of visitors and of the risks it can entail that might harm their whole community. However, it was all worth it because according to Cogollo, “We know our dream is coming true. Farming/Gardening is taking shape.” They were also supposed to put up a garden café and park last May but due to these circumstances, things didn’t go as planned. In the future, they see the garden as a haven where people can stroll and appreciate and realize the beauty of nature. Photos from Dafalongs Flower Farm. For more information, visit the Dafalongs Flower Farms......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 30th, 2020

Ratliffe has advice for Japan-bound Thirdy: 'Be super confident'

The Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena has a big believer in South Korea's Ricardo Ratliffe. Ratliffe, the former Star import and current naturalized player for the Korean national team, says that Thirdy is due for big things on the basketball court. The leading scorer and rebounder of the 2019 FIBA World Cup calls Ravena as the future of Philippine basketball. "I definitely think so," Ratliffe said on 2OT with PBA broadcasters Magoo Marjon and Carlo Pamintuan. Ratliffe got a close look at Thirdy when his South Korean national team took on Ravena's Ateneo Blue Eagles in the 2018 Jones Cup. [Related: JONES CUP: Blue Eagles get burned by red-hot Korea] Korea won the game, 90-73, but Thirdy earned a believer despite the loss. The Koreans finished that Jones Cup at third place while the Blue Eagles went fourth. "He's like a Filipino Russell Westbrook. I saw him in the Jones Cup and he killed us. We brought our real national team and he played well against us," Ratliffe recalled. "I'm like who is this dude? And he's in college? His athleticism is off the charts," Ratliffe added. As a veteran international player himself, Ratliffe likes Thirdy's move to Japan to play pro ball. Ravena is set to take flight in the B.League after signing with San-en NeoPhoenix. [Related: Thirdy, NeoPhoenix open home campaign against powerhouse Jets] "I know he's gonna go out there and represent for the Philippines. I think he has a bright future ahead of him," Ratliffe said of Thirdy. In NeoPhoenix, Thirdy joins a team that only won five games in the COVID-19 shortened 2019-2020 season. As a young player making the jump, Ratliffe believes it was the best move Ravena could make. "I think he made a right decision choosing a lesser team, especially at the start, just to test the waters and see how he likes it. It's a big culture difference out there. Japan is kinda similar to Korea where we're really strict on stuff," Ratliffe said of Thirdy. "So I think he just has to go out there with a free mind and be super confident, he gotta always know that he's still one of the best players in the country so just go out there with that mindset and play like it. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out and he doesn't like it in Japan, he can always go home so there's no need to stress about it," Ratliffe added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2020

No paychecks for 11 big leaguers: advance larger than salary

By RONALD BLUM AP Baseball Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Grant Dayton will notice one glaring absence this season after he reports to the Atlanta Braves: his twice-a-month salary. He is among 11 major leaguers whose prorated pay for the abbreviated 60-game season amounts to less than the $286,500 advance already received by the 32-year-old left-hander. “It’s going to be weird not getting a paycheck,” he said Friday, “but we already got paid.” Dayton gave up the 6,776th and final home run of of last season's record total, to the New York Mets' Dominic Smith. To resume preparation for the new season he will drive Monday from his home in Winter Haven, Florida, to Atlanta with wife Cori, 2 1/2-year-old son Decker and nearly 6-month-old Nolan for Braves' workouts at Truist Park. After opening day was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed March 26 to a deal that called for teams to advance $170 million in salaries over the first 60 days of the season. Others who won’t get paychecks because of lower prorated salaries are Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson and New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder ($277,778 each), Pittsburgh infielder Erik Gonzalez and Minnesota pitcher Matt Wisler ($268,519 apiece), Philadelphia catcher Andrew Knapp ($262,943), Chicago Cubs pitcher Jharel Cotton ($237,037), pitchers Collin McHugh of Boston, Ross Stripling of the Dodgers and Jesse Hahn of Kansas City ($222,222 each) and Milwaukee pitcher Freddy Peralta ($575,200). “My first reaction was, wow, if we don’t have any games this year, I’m going to get paid the same amount that Freddie Freeman’s getting paid, so that’s pretty cool,” Dayton said in a reference to his teammate, a four-time All-Star first baseman with a $22 million salary that was cut to about $8.15 million. “I knew that there was going to be a point that if we resume games, I wouldn't get paid. And I was OK with that because we still received significant amounts of money and we’re fine.” Each of the roughly 480 players with so-called “straight” contracts that call for a single salary received $286,500. The 769 players with “split” contracts that have a lower salary in the minor leagues — generally a younger group not yet eligible for arbitration — got either $16,500, $30,000 or $60,000, depending on their minor league pay level. Dayton, who has spent parts of three seasons in the majors, has a $655,000, one-year contract. His prorated salary for the short season will be $242,593, assuming the contagion does not cause more games to be canceled. The group won’t have to return any cash because the March deal states “in the event there is a 2020 championship season, any amounts advanced to individual players that cannot be recouped by clubs via payroll deduction during the 2020 season for any reason shall be reimbursed to clubs from the International Tax Fund at the conclusion of the 2020 season.” That tax fund is money collected from teams that exceeded their specified bonus pools to sign high-priced Latin American amateurs. “We’re blessed because we’re getting more money than the prorated amount,” Dayton said. Most of the group has relatively low salaries for arbitration-eligible players because of injuries that sidelined them and reduced their statistics. Nelson returned last June from shoulder surgery and was limited to three starts and seven relief appearances. McHugh missed September and the postseason with a sore right elbow and signed a deal with a $600,000 salary and $3.65 million in performance and roster bonuses. Cotton, Dayton, Hahn and Stripling all were interrupted by elbow surgery early in their careers, and Gonzalez missed more than half of last season after breaking his collarbone. Peralta has a low salary in 2020 as part of a $15.5 million, five-year contract he agreed to in March. Dayton was 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 14 relief appearances last year and is 1-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 68 big league games that included time with the Dodgers in 2016-17. He wonders how he will fare in arbitration next winter. “It's going to be a weird year and a short season, but I guess they’re going to have to treat it on paper like a real season, a championship season," he said. "And as far as contracts go in the future, they’re going to have to take the stats this year, which is kind of scary for a relief pitcher, to be honest because you have one bad game, it takes a whole year to get that back. The slow starters can't be slow starters anymore." Stripling, a financial adviser for B. Riley Wealth Management when he’s not playing baseball, negotiated a $2.1 million deal in January but was able to have $1.5 million designated as a signing bonus, which is protected and not reduced. Only the $600,000 specified as salary in the contract gets prorated. “It will be strange to receive no money or paychecks throughout the year,” he said. “I’m thankful for my background in finance, because I’m comfortable with my ability to budget. I do worry about the 10 other guys in my situation. Technically will be receiving zero income until next April. That’s a long time to budget ahead.” One option for players could be licensing money they are owed that had been retained for them by the union. “Our PA is offering a stipend of sorts for guys in similar situations,” Stripling said. “But I don’t know how much money or how often they can receive it. It also comes from our `war chest,′ which is money saved for salaries in case of a work stoppage in 2022. Most guys will try to avoid pulling money from that unless they are in dire situations.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2020

Team Lakay mentor Mark Sangiao looking forward to re-opening gym once lockdown is lifted

Following the May 15 deadline of the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some parts of the island have started to ease restrictions on the quarantine with the sole purpose of getting the economy back on track While the National Capital Region will remain under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, other places like Baguio City have transitioned into General Community Quarantine, which means some restrictions will be eased up. Gym operations however, are not yet among those restrictions to be lifted. Still, the transition to GCQ is a start, and barring a second wave of infections to hit, a return to the gym could soon be on the horizon, which is welcome news to the members of Team Lakay. For Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, once the lockdown has been lifted, re-opening the gym and returning to the regular routine is the primary goal. “I only have one plan after the lockdown, and that is to go back to our regular training program and routine. I know they are doing their own training at home, but of course things are different in the gym,” Sangiao said. The La Trinidad-based martial arts stable closed their gym doors during the height of the quarantine back in March, and have only returned there to do individual workouts or as a control center for their relief operations. The team hasn’t been able to work out as a group in months and have resorted to home training to keep themselves fit. “While we’re on lockdown, we continue training at home, and when needed for social responsibilities, we go out,” Sangiao stated.  “Then if there’s a chance, we drop by the gym and train. Whoever can go out and is within the vicinity, sometimes we meet up in the gym to work out and do sauna after. I also have more time in managing the team’s social media one thing that I wasn’t able to do in this pandemic,” he added. Still, even with things looking quite bleak right now, Sangiao says that he is grateful for good health. “I would say that we are very fortunate because we are all doing fine here amid the scary things that we’re seeing with COVID. I pray that we find a cure soon for this pandemic.” Obviously, the Team Lakay mentor is longing for things to return to normal so that they can once again enjoy even the little things, like going out for lunch as a team. “Like all the others, I miss a lot of things that we used to do before the lockdown, like eating with the team after training. There is a small restaurant near the gym and we often went there for lunch after our training,” Sangiao shared.  "That’s a very good restaurant, and it became our bonding. As they say, ‘Good memories, and good plans start at the dining table.’” Still, the number one thing that Sangiao, and the rest of Team Lakay want to be able to return to work. “We might visit the place after the ECQ, but just like what I’ve said, I have only one plan after the lockdown – that is to go back to our regular training program and routine and prepare the athletes for their future battles,” he concluded.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2020

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 5

In case you missed it: BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 2 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 3 BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 4 --- Pingoy Rule: Never lose hope. --- For the second time in two years, Jerie Pingoy had to have surgery done on his left foot. In November 2017, he injured his left foot in the final frame of the last game of the elimination round of the UAAP. In December 2017, the 5-foot-11 guard went to Pampanga to rid his left foot of bone spurs. Fast forward to June 2019 and his left foot was yet to be fully healed. A failed surgery as well as playing through pain worsened the bone spurs that had long been building up in Pingoy's left foot and he had no other choice but to go to famed sports doctor Raul Canlas. "Nung pinatingin namin kay Doc Canlas, sabi niya, bakit daw hindi inoperahan yung mismong may bone spurs," he shared in a phone interview. "Ako, wala naman akong kaalam-alam. Eh tapos na yun, wala na akong magagawa. Alangan namang habulin ko pa yung doktor dati." As the now-25-year-old was no longer with Adamson University, he had to pay for the new surgery out of his own pocket. Fortunately, he had his girlfriend not only to help him raise funds, but also to find a way to decrease the amount. "Yung girlfriend ko, nagwo-work sa Maxicare (a health maintenance organization) so yun, nag-apply kami ng health card. Buti naman, na-approve," he said. With that, Pingoy went under the knife for the second time in two years. And, as it turns out, it was an outpatient operation. "Ang kasama ko lang nun, girlfriend ko. Pasok kami Sunday, labas ng Monday kasi wala naman kaming ipon e. Binayad na namin lahat ng meron kami sa opera," he said. The good news is that at long last, his left foot is all well and good. As he put it, "At least, ngayon, okay na okay na." NOT ALONE That’s just one of the reasons why Pingoy believes he already has his life partner beside him. Talking about girlfriend Dixie Soberano, he said, full of love, "Through all the darkness na nangyari sa akin, she stayed with me. Alam niya kung gaano ka-struggle yung nangyari sa akin, pero nag-stay siya." He then continued, "Sobrang nagpapasalamat ako sa kanya kasi nandito siya, 'di niya ako iniwan. Siya pa nga laging nagpapaalala sa aking magpakundisyon ka, magpapayat ka para sa future natin." Not only that, Soberano was also how Pingoy received the biggest blessings in his life. In one-year-and-three-month-old Kaeden Jared and two-month-old Jaeden Keith, the Cebuano has even more will to go on and prove that his career is far from finished. "Sila yung nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa akin. Ang practice namin sa CEU, alas sais ng umaga, pero gumigising ako ng alas kwatro kasi iniisip ko, para sa anak ko 'to, para sa kinabukasan nila 'to," he said. He leaves home motivated - and comes home even more motivated as he has a brand new dream to go alongside the one of him playing in the PBA. "Every time umuuwi ako, naiisip kong sana soon, yayaman ako at pag-uwi ko, sasabihan ko mga anak kong, 'Magbihis kayo, kakain tayo sa labas,'" he said. He then continued, "Tapos makikita ko kung gaano sila ka-excited. Talagang nagbago na buhay ko dahil sa kanila." NOT THE END Before COVID-19 shut down anything and everything, Pingoy looked like he was doing all in his power to put his career back on track. Just a month after Karate Kid-CEU took a chance on him, he proved diligent and disciplined in his extra work and trimmed down from 250 lbs. to just 197 lbs. Of course, having a life partner and two children, as well as his parents, relying on him is more than enough fuel to the fire. "Mahirap walang income eh. Nung isang taong nawala ako, as in walang income talaga eh kaya ngayon, kailangang magtulungan kami as a family," he said. Fortunately, the Scorpions have Pingoy's back as he claws and climbs the mountain once more. "Everybody deserves a second chance eh. Sakto kailangan ko rin ng point guard na leader para ma-guide yung mga bata namin," head coach Jeff Napa said. And there remains more than a few who have not lost faith. "If Koko can be given a chance and the confidence, he can still realize the potential that he has," Bo Perasol, the head coach who recruited and then mentored him in Ateneo de Manila University, said. In Napa, team manager Johnny Yap, and all of Karate Kid-CEU, Pingoy has another shot - as long as he keeps at it. "Maganda pa rin naman ang future ng batang yan basta mag-work hard lang siya nang todo at bumalik yung game shape niya. Yung talent at basketball sense kasi, meron na siya e," his new mentor said. FORGET-ME-NOT However, it is yet to be determined when the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup would resume action - or if it would even resume action. With COVID-19 posing more questions than answers, hope is all that Pingoy has for his career that has seen more starts and stops than rush hour traffic in EDSA. Still, hope is what he has been holding to all throughout - and is the reason he still stands even after having seen half of his collegiate career go to waste because of residency. Back-to-back MVP seasons in the UAAP Jrs. were followed by two years in a row of residency. A rookie year in Ateneo was followed by another season on the sidelines after transferring to Adamson. Two years as a Soaring Falcon were followed by a year out of the grid. Now, Jerie Pingoy, once thought to be special, just wants to have a shot at normal. This, even though what he has been through in his young life is already ripe for the pickings for a TV drama. "Sa lahat ng nangyari, parang gusto ko na ngang magpa-MMK e," he kidded. And who, if ever, would portray him on Maalala Mo Kaya? The answer to that is pretty clear in his eyes. "Si Gerald Anderson. Sakto pareho kaming Bisaya, pareho kaming gwapo." Without a doubt, after all that happened to him, the sense of humor is still there with Jerie Pingoy. Hopefully, the game that once made him a promising prospect is still there too. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 12th, 2020

Surge in remote work gadget sales seen

Laptop sales are expected to see an upswing in the months to come as more and more companies see remote or work-from-home scenarios becoming more prevalent and acceptable in the future because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tech Crunch has reported a global growth of the sector engaged in the repair of gadgets, especially laptops and […] The post Surge in remote work gadget sales seen appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsApr 11th, 2020

UAAP football stars express sadness, disappointment over Season 82 cancellation

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has greatly affected the Philippines, among the rest of the world, many of the country’s sporting leagues have been left with no choice but to postpone or cancel their tournaments. For the University Athletic Association of the Philippines or the UAAP, the decision to cancel their 82nd season completely came after the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon was extended until April 30th. For a lot of the second-semester sport athletes, it meant an abrupt end to a tournament that they’ve been preparing for for months, which is the case for the participants of the UAAP football tournaments. Already delayed two weeks due to an initial COVID-19 scare, the UAAP football tournaments lasted a total of three playdates. (READ ALSO: UAAP volleyball players react to Season 82 cancellation) “As a team we're all devastated of course, that this is how our season had to end. Months of preparation and sacrifice for the UAAP season and we weren't able to play it out,” said AJ Arcilla, goalkeeper for the defending champion Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles. “It's heartbreaking honestly, knowing that we won't be able to play the sport that we all love.” Arcilla added that he was fortunate enough to be able to fly home to his family in California before travel bans and lockdowns were put in motion. With that, he sees a silver lining to the otherwise difficult situation. “Personally, I was able to go home to my family in California and spend time with them, which is something I don’t get to do very often so I’m very grateful for that. I just hope and pray that everyone is able to spend time at home and stay healthy and safe despite the current situation.” For Adamson University sophomore Rey Poncardas, what stings the fact that the months of preparation have been all for naught. “Siyempre nasasayangan ako, kasi almost one year yugn pag-hihirap namin sa training, araw-araw gumigising ng maaga.” Poncardas admits however that he saw the cancellation coming because of the rising number of cases of the COVID-19 virus in the country. “Expect ko din na maca-cancel yung season kasi palala ng palala yung virus eh.” Now, with an extended off season in front of him, the second-year midfielder plans to work on improving himself for the coming season. “Para sa akin, sakripisyo lang sa training and stay focused lang po palagi, disiplina sa sarili.” While Ateneo’s Arcilla and Adamson’s Poncardas still have some playing years left on their UAAP careers, there are others who might be looking at the end of their days as collegiate athletes. “Personally, I was quite disappointed when I heard the season won’t push through because I really wanted to leave the team with good results,” said senior University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons forward JB Borlongan. “But with what is going on right now, our number one priority is the safety of everyone so I just have to accept everything that’s happening.” Borlongan was instrumental in UP’s last two title reigns in UAAP Season 78 and UAAP Season 80. If this is indeed this is the end of the line for Borlongan in his college career, the two-time UAAP champion says he can hold his head high and be proud what he was able to achieve. “Personally, I’m happy with what the team and I achieved during those 5 years. My most memorable moments with the team were Season 78 and 80 because I think those were the seasons were we played really well as a team and every game, we were really hungry to play,” Borlongan concluded. Far Eastern University Tamaraws right back Martin Salilig was expecting for the season to be cancelled, but admits that the news hit him differently once his expectations became reality. “I was in my workout yesterday when I found out about the cancellation of UAAP season 82. I was shocked and disappointed. Disappointed because of the situation and not because of the decision of the board,” Salilig explained. “Actually, I’m expecting that to happen, pero iba pala pag official cancelled na talaga. Sobrang sakit.” It was all the more difficult for Salilig who had hoped his final year could have played out differently. “It’s all about hard work, dedication and sacrifice, me and whole team gave it our all to show our best shot this season. I was not able to continue my workout because of sadness, naupo na lng ako sa sala, reminiscing all the memories I had with UAAP and with FEU.” “Knowing it’s my last playing, it broke my heart so much because I know inside of me, I want to do more, I want to play more. It never came to my mind that I will end my UAAP this way. I don’t know what’s next but still hoping for a positive outcome. We still want to play,” Salilig continued. Like Salilig, De La Salle University Green Archers team captain Jed Diamante was expecting for the worst, but actually hearing it happen was a different story. “From the time the games were postponed due to the pandemic, you can’t avoid thinking about all the possible scenarios the tournament could take, and the cancellation was honestly one of those being considered.” “However, mentally preparing ourselves for the decision of the board may not have been enough to prepare us from hearing the news because honestly it took us, especially the seniors, by surprise,” he continued. “I believe everyone has their own reasons for how they reacted to the news because we are all going through different situations amidst this global crisis.” “Although disheartening as it may seem, the decision of the board may be what is best for everyone at this stage. What we're going through is beyond sports and I sincerely hope that everyone is safe and healthy wherever they may be,” Diamante continued. Diamante hopes that fate would allow him to return to the pitch for one more season. If not, then he’s nothing but grateful for the opportunity and the experience. “Hopefully it's not [my last year yet] but if it were, then what I can say is I enjoyed every second of [my UAAP career]. By being able to wear the Green and White alone opened so many opportunities for me to grow as a student-athlete and as a person.” “I’ll also keep close to my heart the connections that were built throughout the years with my family on the field - my teammates and coaches. I'm profoundly blessed to have experienced all the challenges and victories with this group of respectable and genuine men,” he added. Although disheartening as it may seem, the decision of the board may be what is best for everyone at this stage. What we're going through is beyond sports and I sincerely hope that everyone is safe and healthy wherever they may be,” Diamanted concluded. Because of his transfer to National University, Bulldogs striker Rico Andes had to sit UAAP Season 81 out due to residency. In Season 82, he was supposed to be one of the focal points of a revamped NU side. “Nanghihinayang ako lalo na’t last playing year ko na sa UAAP, at gusto ko rin sanang suklian yung NU sa binigay nila sa akin na opportunity,” Andes said. “Pero wala namang may gustong mangyari ito. Lahat ng teams naman ang nag-handa ng ilang months at may gustong maabot this season, pero ngayon po, ang pinaka-importante ay ang kalusugan at kaligtasan ng lahat.” “Nakakapang-hinayang man pero alam kong ito ang ika-bubuti ng lahat,” he added. Because of the year off, Andes says that having the season end this way hurts a little more. “[Sobrang sakit po]. Naghintay ako ng mahigit isang taon para bumawi at makabalik sa UAAP tapos ito pa nangyari,” he stated. Andes may not have been able to taste UAAP glory, but the speedy scorer says he’s grateful for the experiences he was able to go though during his five-year UAAP career, if this is indeed the end. “Hindi man ako nakaranas na maka-kuha ng championship, pero sa limang taon ko sa UAAP, sobrang grateful ko sa tiwalang ipinadama ng mga coaches, teammates, friends, at familiy ko, especially sa nanay ko. Sobrang thankful ako sa FEU na nag-bukas sa akin ng football opportunity at naging tahanan ko ng ilang taon.” “Sobrang pasasalamat ko din sa NU na nag-bigay sa akin ng pangalawang tahanan. Walang kapantay na saya. Napaka-raming maliit at malalaking bagay ang natutunan ko sa UAAP career ko,” Andes concluded.      “Sa totoo lang, talagang nasayangan ako nung nag-cancel na yung UAAP ng mga natitirang games, kasi unang-una, sayang yung one year o higit pa na preparation para lang dun,” shared University of the East goalkeeper Franklin Rieza, who could also be on his way out. “Sakin kasi, parang last ko na din, kaya sayang talaga.” If given the chance to return next year, Rieza added the he wouldn’t hesistate, especially if the team still needs him by then. “Depende na, kasi graduation na lang hinihintay ko for this year eh, pero kung kakailanganin pa ako sa team, bakit hindi?” Following their forgettable UAAP Season 81 campaign, senior University of Santo Tomas striker Conrado Dimacali was hoping that Season 82 would be a bounce-back season for himself and the Growling Tigers. “Siyempre una po nalulungkot ako kasi last year na namin nila [Aljireh] Fuchigami, AJ Pasion, Jayson Rafol, at Ralph Logornio. Kaming mga graduating, gusto namin bumawi dahil nung last year na nangyari sa amin na hindi kami naka-pasok sa top-4, kaso yun lang nga, dahil sa nangyayari ngayon, wala din kami magagawa, pero masakit talaga,” Dimacali expressed. “Sobrang nakakalungko talaga, hindi nami ine-expect na magiging ganito yung last year namin.” While the future remains unclear for seniors like Dimacali, he’s hoping for the best and hoping for another chance to don the blue and gold of Espanya. Whatever happens, it was still quite the memorable collegiate run for the Growling Tigers scorer. “Yung pinaka-memorable sa akin yung Season 80 kasi yun yung nasa Finals kami, kaso hindi lang talaga para sa amin yun. Yung natutunan ko bilang college player ay maging strong sa loob ng football field at i-command yung mga teammates ko ng maayos sa loob at labas ng football field.”  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

MPBL: ECQ giving Davao s Mark Yee time to heal from injury

With the 2020 Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan Season Division Finals put on hold due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Davao Occidental-Cocolife main man Mark Yee is putting all his spare time to good use. After being initially diagnosed with a torn plantaris muscle on his right knee due to a collision during the Game Two of their quarterfinals match-up against Bicol last February 21, MRI results revealed that the 38-year-old bruiser suffered a partial anterior cruciate ligament tear and a torn calf. Despite the injuries, Yee battled through the pain and managed to suit up in four of Davao Occidental’s last five playoff games. But with Luzon placed under enhanced community quarantine due to the country’s on-going fight against the pandemic, Yee is maximizing his extra time to work out, making sure that he’s a hundred-percent ready once their Game Three clash against Basilan-Jumbo Plastic resume. “Sobrang malaking bagay ‘to para sa akin kasi makakapag rehab ako kahit dito sa bahay at makakapaghanda para sa game. Bahay lang talaga, kaunting papawis. Sa ngayon ang iniisip ko sana matapos muna ‘tong COVID virus, dasal lang saka tiwala kay God talaga,” Yee shared. “Pinagaling na ako ni God, pero masaya na malungkot ako dahil sa quarantine. Siyempre, masaya kasi may time ako makapag-workout at makapaghanda para sa Game Three pero malungkot kasi maraming mga tao yung naapektuhan at ‘di makapagtrabaho." Despite the future of the Lakan playoffs being uncertain, Yee insisted that the Tigers need to brace for every possible scenario -- including a win-or-go-home Game Three. “Walang nakakalamang e, kahit home court namin or nasa amin yung momentum, kailangan namin pagtrabahuhan nang maigi para makuha namin yung panalo.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 5th, 2020

'NBA Together' Campaign Launched in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

While the coronavirus pandemic has suspended the 2019-20 NBA season, it has not lessened the league's global impact and reach. Over the past week, 20 NBA and WNBA players created public service announcement videos to share important health and wellness information about ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Those videos have generated more than 37 million views across the league's social media accounts. The league is using its vast digital footprint and the powerful voices of teams, players, coaches, doctors and others across the NBA family to launch "NBA Together" - a global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of NBA Together, the NBA family is committed to contributing and helping raise more than $50 million to support people impacted by the coronavirus and community and healthcare organizations providing vital services around the world, which includes the more than $30 million financial commitment already made by NBA and WNBA teams and players to date. NBA Together is centered on four key pillars that will amplify the latest global health and safety information, share guidelines and resources, and keep people and communities socially connected through digital tools and virtual events as everyone copes with the impact of the pandemic: 1. Know the Facts: The NBA launched its  Coronavirus Information For NBA Fans webpage, which is updated daily with the latest information in their regions on how they can best protect themselves and stop the spread, featuring infographics and shareable resources with guidance from the CDC, WHO, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and local and federal health experts. We have produced 20 public service messages to date featuring current and former NBA and WNBA Players. The NBA and WNBA will continue to use the influential voices of players, coaches and legends through public service announcements to inform fans on the best ways to stay safe and healthy in both their body and mind as the world faces the rapidly changing and evolving pandemic. 2. Acts of Caring: “Acts of Caring” will aim to inspire 1 million big and small acts of kindness to support those impacted, including community and healthcare organizations providing relief.  Using #NBATogether, we will call on players, fans and the general public to share ways they are sacrificing in this time of crisis to support friends, families and communities.  These acts can include teaching virtual classes, buying groceries for neighbors in need and donating supplies to local health centers.  Visit  cares.nba.com/actsofcaring to learn more. 3. Expand Your Community: “Jr. NBA at Home” – a new, interactive content series – will include daily posts on Jr. NBA social channels and NBA digital properties around the world to provide at-home basketball skills and drills that promote physical activity and character development and can be completed individually and in limited space.  The program features curated content and messages from NBA and WNBA players to inspire boys and girls around the world to stay active in a healthy and safe way. The program will feature daily posts on the @jrnba social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and NBA digital properties across the globe, and integration with NBA technology partner and mobile basketball training application HomeCourt. Jr. NBA Philippines Facebook will integrate these content pieces and feature additional videos in the future. In addition to "Jr. NBA at Home," the NBA will engage education and wellness partners, such as  Scholastic Inc., Discovery Education, and NBA Math Hoops, to promote existing resources for students and parents that have been adapted for at-home learning. NBA personalities and educators will create short virtual lessons that will make learning at home fun. And in an effort to combat the higher levels of anxiety and stress during these uncertain times, the NBA, in partnership with  Headspac, will provide mental wellness and resiliency resources and tools to encourage fans to be mindful of their mental wellness and the wellbeing of those around them. 4. NBA Together Live: Every day at 3 p.m. ET (3 a.m. PHT) on the league’s official Instagram account, members of the NBA family, including current and former players, coaches and others, will join live broadcasts for engaging interviews.  Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love tipped off the series last Saturday, March 21 PHT and we will soon be adding other platforms where we will have daily live content at a set time.  We will also be streaming classic games every night at 8 p.m. ET (8 a.m. PHT) on NBA social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.  To further help NBA fans stay connected with their favorite players and teams, the NBA continues to offer a free preview of NBA League Pass, the league’s premium subscription-based product, until April 22 (April 23 12 nn PHT).  This complimentary offering features access to full length and condensed replays of all games from the 2019-20 season, as well as an expansive archive of classic games and content. Fans can redeem this free offer by signing into their NBA account through NBA.com or the NBA App on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android mobile and tablet devices, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and other supported devices. The phrase “bigger than basketball” is often used when discussing the efforts of a player or team to make a positive impact in their community. The response to this global pandemic is the epitome of “bigger than basketball” as the NBA looks to do its part to help people across the globe come together and work through these tough times......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2020

Valverde questioned after another late collapse by Barcelona

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona had once again played great, led through goals by Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, yet still managed to let it slip away. Barcelona squandered one of its best performances of the season by conceding two late goals to Atlético Madrid, falling 3-2 in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Messi equalized after Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion scored for Atletico, and Griezmann put Barcelona deservedly ahead 2-1. But the goalkeeping of Jan Oblak, Atlético's star this season, kept Barcelona out for the rest of the way while Álvaro Morata leveled with a penalty kick in the 82nd minute and Ángel Correa completed the dramatic turnaround in the 86th. For Barcelona, the chance to add a minor trophy from a mini-tournament played thousands of miles away is not the main worry. The concern is Barcelona’s odd knack of losing control of games that look like a sure victory. Whether it's a question of overconfidence, a lack of fitness or just momentary lapses that cost the team dearly, the pressure is on coach Ernesto Valverde. Messi and other team leaders defended Valverde, whose very good overall record at Barcelona has been blemished by shocking defeats. “It’s normal that when you lose and don’t reach your objectives, and when our fans see that the team is not playing like they would like, that people talk and say things,” Messi said. “We have to be more united than ever, remain a strong group and get through this. “This year we will try to play like we did today (before the late goals) and not commit childish errors like those we committed.” But that didn’t stop the Spanish sports media reporting that Barcelona club officials met with midfield great Xavi Hernández to probe him as a possible replacement for Valverde either now or next season. Xavi left Barcelona in 2015, following 17 trophy-laden seasons, for Qatari club Al-Sadd, where he coaches. The speculation that he could soon be returning home led to Al-Sadd saying no move was imminent. “The issue of Xavi going to Barcelona is normal and expected because he will be at his club and it’s his first home and he must return there in the future, but as of today, Xavi is the coach of Al-Sadd.” Al-Sadd general manager Turki Al-Ali said in a statement on the club website. “Xavi and his team are focusing on tomorrow’s match against Al-Rayyan, and we know that a club with the size and professionalism of Barcelona will take to official channels to speak of such matters,” Al-Ali said. Barcelona’s loss at the King Abdullah Sports City on Thursday came five days after it conceded an 88th-minute equalizer at Espanyol in the Spanish league. The late goal by Wu Lei also came on a desperate counterattack similar to both of Atlético's late attacks that led to goals, when Barcelona’s backline was out of sync and let a pass through to a player with only goalkeeper Neto to beat. Wu’s goal ruined a superb match by Luis Suárez, who had scored with a fine touch and made a difficult pass for an assist. Suárez also backed Valverde on Thursday by taking the blame for the stumble against Atlético. “This loss shows we have room to improve,” the Uruguay striker said. “It shows us that there are mistakes that we can’t make because we were in charge of the game and we let them mount counterattacks … but the coach is not at fault. They were mistakes that we made.” Barcelona has drawn three of its last four league matches, but still lead the competition on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid. The team was leading before finishing 2-2 at Real Sociedad last month; lost 3-1 at Levante after Messi had put them ahead in November; and gave up a goal in the 81st in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna in August. Those setbacks would not be as worrisome for Barcelona if the team had not completely collapsed in the Champions League in recent seasons, most recently a humiliating 4-0 loss at Liverpool after winning the first leg of the semifinals 3-0. Valverde’s job was then in even more jeopardy at the end of last season after Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey final to Valencia, casting a shadow of doubt over the Spanish league champions. Club president Josep Bartomeu, however, has stuck by the former player who is known for his intelligence and unflappable attitude. Valverde is in his third season at Barcelona. He has won back-to-back Spanish league titles and one Copa del Rey final. A European Cup has eluded him. Valverde said he was used to the criticism as part of a job that was never secure. “We coaches always work with the idea of giving it our all to each match,” Valverde said. “We know how soccer is and that there is a permanent instability in teams when you are not getting good results or when you lose. Now that we have lost I suppose people will talk about it, but I remain focused on my job.” Valverde’s next job is to prepare for the visit of Granada on Jan. 19. In the meantime, Atlético will face crosstown rival Real Madrid in the Super Cup final on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

SEA Games champions captivate the nation with inspiring performances

Winning the hearts of Filipinos everywhere with their discipline, perseverance, and hard work, MILO Champions Carlos Yulo, Kiefer Ravena, Pauline Lopez, Mary Joy Tabal, and Alyssa Valdez brought pride and honor to the country during the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. With an entire nation energized and rallying support for five of the brightest stars in Philippine sports, they reasserted our position in the regional arena and proved why the future is bright for the next generation of champions. MILO congratulates its sports ambassadors for their impressive medal finishes and hard-fought efforts in the SEA Games, of which the Philippines also earned the overall championship, besting the 10 other countries with a tally of 387 medals: 149 gold, 117 silver, and 121 bronze. “The 30th Southeast Asian Games marked another historic milestone for the advancement of Philippine sports,” says Nestlé Philippines-MILO Vice President Veronica Cruz. “As a longstanding partner and advocate, MILO is honored to be a part of the journeys of Caloy, Kiefer, Pauline, Mary Joy, and Alyssa while remaining steadfast in building a nation of champions, bannering our one Laban Pilipinas battlecry.”  Yulo has come a long way from playing in the streets with his friends and competing in the MILO Little Olympics. The first Filipino gymnastics world champion, and just the second countryman to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, continued his meteoric rise as he competed in front of a spirited home crowd for the first time, bagging two gold medals (all-around and floor exercise) and five silvers (pommel horse, steady rings, vaults, parallel bars, and horizontal bar). Before Lopez began reaping numerous awards here and abroad, she tested her mettle by winning the 2007 MILO-PTA (Philippine Taekwondo Association) tournament gold medal. As one of the brand’s newest ambassadors, she continues to empower other Filipinas to break barriers and overcome obstacles as seen in her women’s under 57kg gold medal victory. Securing his record fifth straight SEA Games gold medal in men’s basketball, Ravena proudly exemplified how comebacks are stronger than setbacks. The MILO BEST Center 2001 graduate and longtime ambassador proved doubters wrong with his unbreakable spirit and unquestionable dedication to the country, even as a late addition to the team’s lineup. A six-time regining National MILO Marathon Queen and first Filipino marathon Olympian, Tabal gave her all in an inspired showing, finishing with a silver in the women’s marathon. She is optimistic in her pursuit of other key tournaments next year as she competes in the Tokyo 2020 Marathon and looks to qualify in the 2020 Olympics. Valdez and company exceeded expectations, putting up a valiant effort with a fourth-place finish in front of their adoring fans at the 30th SEA Games. With a near-podium finish, the MILO sports ambassador and volleyball MVP remains determined to win a medal for the country. “We are one with the people in celebrating the Champions and all the athletes who represented the country in the 30th SEA Games, showcasing what it truly means to be a champion in sports and in life. More than the wins and recognition, MILO believes in the importance of  lifelong values learned in sports and remains committed to nourishing the ambitions of Filipinos,” adds MILO Sports Executive Lester P. Castillo.  As a gold partner of the 30th SEA Games, MILO helped energize a nation of champions with the first taste of the NEW MILO for tomorrow’s champions. Attendees of the games in select fan zones and venues were able to try the more delicious and nutritious Champion formula. ### About MILO MILO has been in the Philippines for over 50 years and is the country’s favorite chocolate malt powdered milk drink that can be prepared with hot or cold milk or water.  Every mug of MILO contains the goodness of Cocoa, Malt, Milk, and Activ-Go® - a special blend of Protomalt®, Vitamins, and Minerals. It is high in Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and is a good source of Iron, for energy release from food.  About Nestlé Philippines Over a hundred years after it first started operations in the country, Nestlé Philippines, Inc. (NPI) today is a robust and stable organization, proud of its role in bringing the best food and beverage throughout the stages of the Filipino consumers’ lives. The Company employs more than 3,200 men and women nationwide, and is among the country’s Top 10 Corporations.  Driven by its purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future, Nestlé today produces and markets products under some of the country’s trusted brands such as NESCAFE, NIDO, MILO, NESTEA, MAGGI, BEAR BRAND, NESTLÉ and PURINA, among others. Its product range has expanded to include coffee, milk, beverages, non-dairy creamer, food, infant nutrition, ice cream and chilled dairy, breakfast cereals, confectionery and pet care......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2019

Mourinho back in Champs League, on charm offensive at Spurs

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Jose Mourinho’s charm offensive has been in overdrive during his whirlwind first few days at Tottenham. He has lauded Tottenham’s training complex as being “second to none” and without comparison across Europe “at any level.” He says he has slept in the club’s pajamas at its on-site hotel which he rates as “six star,” with its “soft pillows, amazing duvet.” Now it’s time for a first taste of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — “the best stadium in the world,” he has purred — as Mourinho continues his quest to win over fans who might still be skeptical about his appointment. Getting the team through to the knockout stage of the Champions League wouldn’t do him any harm in the ingratiation process. Three days after guiding Spurs to a Premier League victory at West Ham in his first match since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho will take charge of them in a home match for the first time when Olympiakos visits Tuesday in the Champions League. A victory guarantees progress out of Group B alongside Bayern Munich with a game to spare. It would complete a decent week’s work for Mourinho as he attempts to rebuild his coaching reputation after a fractious, and ultimately disappointing, 2½ year spell at Manchester United that ended almost 12 months ago. The Portuguese coach hugged his players and kept a respectful distance from the traveling Spurs fans while he celebrated the 3-2 win against West Ham on Saturday. It might take some time for them to accept Mourinho and take him to their hearts, especially considering the work Pochettino did in raising standards at Tottenham — even getting the team to a Champions League final last season when it lost to Liverpool. Mourinho has done that with Porto and Inter Milan, winning the title match on both occasions, so is seeking to become the first manager to win European club soccer’s biggest prize with three different clubs — all from different countries. None of them could be classed as modern-day continental heavyweights, either, making that achievement all the more impressive. The closest he has come to winning the Champions League since that 2010 triumph with Inter was a trio of semifinal appearances — all with Real Madrid — in 2011, ’12 and ’13. He got Manchester United out of its group last season, only to get fired before the knockout stages even began. If he was happy to be back in the Premier League — his “natural habitat,” he called it — at the weekend, imagine how he will feel making a return to the Champions League arena. Three teams have already qualified after four of the six rounds of games: Bayern, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. RESTED RONALDO Seeking a win to advance along with Juventus in Group D, Atletico Madrid is well aware of the dangers of a rested Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo took some time off before the second leg of the last 16 in the Champions League last season and responded with a hat trick against the Spanish team as Juventus overturned a 2-0 deficit. Ronaldo was rested again at the weekend, for Juve’s 3-1 win at Atalanta, as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Ronaldo showed little sign of any problem while playing for Portugal in the recent European Championship qualifiers, scoring a hat trick in one match and also netting in another. Juventus is looking to secure top spot in the group with a win on Tuesday. FAVRE UNDER PRESSURE Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has little room for error ahead of the side’s trip to Barcelona on Wednesday. A win would put the German side, which is a point behind first-place Barca in Group F, through to the knockout stage, but the manner of Dortmund’s performance will have a big say in Favre’s future. Dortmund fans reacted with fury after a 3-3 draw with last-place Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Friday, berating the players after their latest lackluster performance in a signal that their patience is wearing thin. Barcelona can seal first place in the group with a win. REAL REVENGE Real Madrid can qualify from Group A — and gain a measure of revenge — by beating PSG on Tuesday. PSG overwhelmed Madrid 3-0 in Paris in September, a result that left Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane under some pressure. “We’re in better shape,” said Zidane, whose team is only behind Barcelona in the Spanish league on goal difference. “We had a tough game in Paris, but that's in the past.” Group C leader Manchester City will advance by beating Shakhtar Donetsk at home on Tuesday. Liverpool has a one-point lead over Napoli heading into their meeting Wednesday in Group E, in which Salzburg is a further four points back before its game against out-of-contention Genk. In Group H, Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia are all on seven points. Valencia hosts Chelsea on Wednesday, when Ajax travels to Lille. In Group G, Leipzig and Lyon can advance by beating Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg, respectively, on Wednesday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2019

21 active stars who should have their jersey retired someday

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com Tony Parker is the latest all-time great to see his jersey raised to the rafters for his years of service in San Antonio. But he won’t be the last of his generation to be honored that way. Parker’ big night in San Antonio generated some interesting conversation about who, among current NBA players only, would be in line for similar honors someday. Keep in mind that the standards for a retired jersey with one franchise differs from one to another. Winning titles in Los Angeles or Boston -- or even Chicago or Golden State -- is a tougher sell than it is where there aren’t already multiple championship banners. Accomplishments matter … and so does sentiment, too. There are always unique variables at work when it comes to retiring jerseys, which is a much more significant honor than inducting a player into a franchise’s ring of honor. With Parker’s star-studded ceremony still fresh in our minds, here’s a list of other stars who will one day be able to see their jerseys up in the rafters: * * * LeBron James (Cavs and Heat): If there is anyone that’s an absolute lock to see his jersey raised high when he calls it a career, it’s LeBron. He delivered Cleveland a title, ending the city’s 52-year title drought, in his second stint with what is essentially his hometown team. Before that, he was the catalyst for the Heat’s four straight Finals trips (2011-14) and back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. The standard to join the Lakers’ retired-jersey fraternity is tougher, of course. The greatest Lakers get statues -- a fate that might await LeBron in Cleveland one day. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala (Warriors): Also known as the “Hamptons 5”, they will all be immortalized someday by Golden State. All five played a role in the championship fun and excitement they generated during the franchise’s golden era of the past half-decade. You can make case for all five of them to enjoy jersey retirement ceremonies on their own. That, however, would go against everything their “Strength In Numbers” era was about. Rest assured, though, that all five of them will have their day. James Harden (Rockets): Harden started his career as a super sixth man in Oklahoma City before rewriting his legacy after a trade to Houston. He’s already one of the most prolific and creative scorers the league has seen. The Rockets have had their fair share of legendary players and know what it’s like to bask in the championship glow provided by the rise of a transcendent player. Harden’s jersey will be in good company some day, perhaps right next to Hakeem Olajuwon’s No. 34. Russell Westbrook (Thunder): In an era where nearly every other elite superstar of his generation made a move via trade or free agency, Westbrook stuck to his roots in Oklahoma City until he had no choice but to move on. He endeared himself to generations of OKC fans by playing at a fever pitch from start to finish, earning All-Star, All-NBA and Kia MVP honors there. Being a part of a Finals team with Durant and Harden helped cement his legacy. Although he’s now in Houston, he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Thunder fans. Damian Lillard (Blazers): Lillard personifies the values of a basketball-mad fan base in a city that adores its team and stars in a unique way. The Blazers did their homework on the unheralded point guard from Weber State and have enjoyed everything that’s happened since. From his Kia Rookie of the Year campaign in 2013 to today, he has played out better than anyone could have imagined. Lillard, one of the most underappreciated stars of his generation, couldn’t have found a better match in a city and franchise. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The rise of the "The Greak Freak" from obscure prospect to Kia MVP in just six seasons gives his story extra dramatic flair. His relentless work ethic helped change the culture in Milwaukee and branded him as a potential successor to James as the face of the league. The fact that he authored the greatest individual season in Bucks history since Kareem-Abdul Jabbar’s days has carved out a permanent space for Antetokounmpo’s jersey in franchise lore. Kemba Walker (Hornets): The face of the franchise in Charlotte for the first eight years of his career, Walker has since moved on to Boston. But he remains the Hornets’ career leader in several categories and was a beloved fan favorite for a team that never achieved any sustained postseason success. Few players of his or any era forged a connection to a city and franchise as Walker did with Charlotte. Derrick Rose (Bulls): Born and raised in Chicago, Rose (at 22) became the youngest player to win the Kia MVP in 2011. He also joined Michael Jordan and Elton Brand as the only Bulls to win Rookie of the Year honors. Even though knee injuries derailed his career in his hometown, he piled up enough early career accolades to one day be honored with a retired jersey. Although he never led the franchise back to championship prominence, he is the the most decorated Bull since MJ. Vince Carter (Raptors): How many players can say they served as the basketball inspiration for an entire nation? Carter can. His time with the Raptors served as the spark for generations of future NBA players, many of whom have gotten the chance to play with their childhood idol in the twilight of his future Hall of Fame career. His five seasons with the New Jersey Nets solidified his status as one of the best players of his generation. But his star was never brighter than it was from 1998-2004 when “Vinsanity” inspired Canada. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (Grizzlies): These two should grit and grind their way to the rafters in Memphis, on the same night if possible. They helped usher in the greatest run in franchise history, spearheading a feisty and physical style that spoke to the city’s blue-collar ways. The “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies validated their rise to prominence with a West finals run in 2013 steered by Gasol and Conley. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors): Lowry and his best buddy DeRozan were separated before they could realize their dreams of winning a title together in Toronto. Lowry realized it last season alongside Kawhi Leonard, thus cementing his legacy as an all-time great Raptor. He’ll always have a place to call home north of the border because of the franchise-altering success that took place on his watch. DeRozan was a fan favorite who wanted to finish his career in Toronto. He, too, will always have a home in the city. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul (Clippers): The LA end for these two was messier than it should have been, especially since they oversaw the “Lob City” era that revitalized the franchise. Time will surely heal all wounds, somewhere down the road. History will be kinder to the Clippers’ climb out of the doldrums than anyone was during their injury-tortured run. Griffin and Paul are locks for the Hall of Fame one day. Plus, a franchise without much history to celebrate could use a couple of jerseys to jazz up their new building. Kawhi Leonard (Raptors): Is a one-year surreal playoff run enough to warrant franchise immortality? Clippers fans are hoping Kawhi and Paul George give them a reason to raise their jerseys to the rafters someday, too. Right now, Leonard is a seeming lock for the honor with the Raptors, where his brief-but-fruitful stay there gave their rabid fan base their first NBA championship. Dwight Howard (Magic): After his first eight seasons in Orlando, Howard had a near slam-dunk case for the Hall of Fame and retired jersey status. Yes, his exit from Orlando was messy. And he has yet to find a way to part ways with any of the other franchises on good terms. Still, you can’t overlook his Magic-era feats: All-Star berths, three Kia Defensive Player of the Year awards, five All-NBA first team nods and a Finals trip in 2009. 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 NewsNov 13th, 2019

ONE Championship: Team Lakay seniors Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio proud to see Joshua Pacio in the main event

For the third time in his young career, reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio finds himself on the top billing of a ONE Championship card.  Pacio will be defending his title against fellow Filipino Rene “D’Challenger” Cataln at ONE: Masters of Fate this coming Friday, November 8th at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Manila, Philippines.  What makes this main event quite different for the 23-year old Pacio is the fact that it will be his first headliner at home.  It will also be the first time that he’ll be having two of his Team Lakay seniors and former ONE world champions Eduard Folayang and Geje Eustaquio on the undercard.  For the two elder Lakays, seeing their ‘ading’ Joshua in the main event is simply a testament of the hard work and dedication that they, and the whole of Team Lakay, have put in becoming world-class fighters.  “Ibig-sabihin lang nun tama yung tinatahak namin na landas, kasi nakikita nila and nagpupursige sila na [maka-abot] ng mas-mataas pa sa amin, and they are proving it well,” said former two-time ONE Lightweight World Champion Folayang. He faces Mongolian up-and-comer Amarsanaa “Spear” Tsogookhu in the co-main event.  “Yun naman ang gusto natin, hopefully, mas marami pa sanang susunod na mag-main event na mga upcoming fighters natin,” Folayang added.  The future is indeed bright for the next generation, so to say, of Team Lakay stars, as Pacio, flyweight contender Danny “The King” Kingad, and strawweight newcomer Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang are all poised to fly the Benguet-based MMA stable’s flag high for the forseeable future.  For Eustaquio a former ONE Flyweight World Champion, it doesn’t stop with this batch of Team Lakay’s young guns. As he put it, it continues on as a cycle.  “Ang sa akin, it's really nakaka-proud, because we did our part and they're also doing their part.” Eustaquio shared. “We really dreamed, it's the vision of Coach Mark, to make it a cycle. As much as possible, it will not stop in our generation, on their generation, but it will go on.” “It will go on as a cycle, we will produce world champions that come from the mountains, or that come from the Philippines,” he added.  More from the #ONEChampionship #MastersOfFate Open Workouts: @TeamLakay seniors @efolayang and @lakaygravity101 talking about having their “ading” Joshua Pacio in the main event pic.twitter.com/v8fYCcFrlO — Santino Honasan???? (@honasantino) November 7, 2019 For his part, Pacio is obviously happy to hear such praise from the people that he himself looks up to. After all, Pacio says, they’re definitely a big part of why he’s in the limeline in the first place.  “Nakakataba din ng puso and dagdag motivation. Hindi lang nila alam na isa sila sa mga ladders ko, kung bakit nandito ako ngayon.” Truth be told, Pacio really doesn’t mind if he’s in the main event or if they’re in the main event. The important thing is that he’s fighting alongside his Team Lakay family.  “May mga nagtatanong sa akin ano yung feeling ko na ako na yung main event tapos sila yung nag-uundercard sa akin, ang sa akin, hindi ko iniisip yun, kasi ang importante sa akin ay may makasama ako sa card na lalaban and of course mananalo kami lahat. Yun ang importante.”   Catch ONE: MASTERS OF FATE live on Friday, November 8th LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23 on LIVESTREAM via the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and on iWant starting at 8:30 PM. ONE: MASTERS OF FATE will also air on Sunday's Best on November 17th, Sunday, at 11:30 PM with local commentatry from Anton Roxas and Theo Castillo.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 7th, 2019

The team may be struggling but coach Gabby Severino is hopeful that new players can turn the season around.

Coach Gabby Severino barks instructions to his Navotas Uni-Pak Sardines players while they run a half-court scrimmage in the Acropolis Gym in Pasig. He is told that his trainings are intense, and this is his reply: “Practices are intense because I make them that way. I don't want the players to think that just because they are in this league they can't just walk around. You still have to work hard. That is the culture I want to establish. They work hard, practice hard, then the results will come.” Unfortunately for Severino, results have been hard to come by for Navotas Uni-Pak. The team is fourth from bottom in the North Division with a 4-11 slate. A run at a playoff spot is still within reach, but the odds are against them. There have been some bright moments this season, the most notable being the record 125-point output in the win over Nueva Ecija last July. In that game they out-assisted their foes 38-21. But Severino is somewhat dismissive of that freakish night. “That game was a bit of a fluke. I'd rather have more consistency.” The good news is that Severino has three new toys to play with, all acquired during the recent trading window. Mark Anthony “Dudu” Guillen is a 6'4” power forward who came over from the Pampanga Giant Lanterns. Severino says Guillen is “experienced, has a good touch from outside. He's a banger, he's smart and big enough to defend the post.” Also coming aboard is 6'2" Joecel Prudente, who previously played for Bacoor as a homegrown player. “He will bring energy in defense and strength, we are kind of thin in the guard spot,” explains the coach, who can deploy Prudente as a two guard or three. “He penetrates hard, he has the body to do that,” adds the coach. The third new piece of the puzzle is the athletic Jesper Bautista, a 6'4" wing. “I'll play him as a 3 first and I'll see what happens,” reveals Severino. “We are not that tall a team so maybe I can get a little more height. He has guard skills and attacks well. Jesper's a good defender and I like his energy. It's just his shooting can be better.” Navotas shipped Brylle Ivan Meca to Bataan for the former Arellano Chief. These three new cogs will hopefully work well with Navotas' standout player this season, forward Jhong Bondoc, who was roped in via John Flores, coach of the Community Basketball Association's General Trias Braves. Severino points to the big guy with cupping marks on his shoulders. “Bondoc is an undersized big (6'3”) who works hard, rebounds well, is a fighter, a tough guy, who can shoot the three pointer. In my system we encourage the bigs to shoot from outside, as basketball is going all over the world. Bigs are bigger guards who can shoot outside,” says the coach. But it's plain to see that Navotas does not have the talent of the best teams in the league. The team was only assembled a week before the season began, so the top-tier players had all been snapped up. Coach Gabby hopes to counter the talent deficit with his system. “I'd like to think we are an unselfish team. We share the ball, if you look at our stats we have around 20 assists per game. There are always different people shining, we don't have one star. We were late getting the team, we don't have the best talent to work with, but that's okay if as the players are willing to sacrifice personal glory for the team.” Severino says there are lots of details in his system, which he describes as a European-style motion offense with “pockets of Ateneo in both offense and defense.” Severino is an assistant in Tab Baldwin's Blue Eagle team, and has been so for ages. Severino says the Navotas scheme utilizes plenty of backdoor-cut handoffs as well as elements of a classic pick and roll. The coach admits that even with the Blue Eagles, details of the system are sometimes forgotten. Naturally that also happens with his Navotas charges. The vastly different cultures and backgrounds of the two teams also present a challenge when he tries to introduce tactical concepts. “It's like trying to get them to like caviar or sushi, when maybe they have grown up eating daing na bangus,” says Severino. “You have to temper expectations. But they are learning.” Last Monday Navotas put their offensive and defense in play against the Quezon City Capitals. Bondoc led the way with 20 points and Guillen was solid with 11. Mark Matillano was clutch, knocking in a pair of late charities to force overtime. But QC prevailed in the extension, 98-97. It was a bitter loss but Severino can take solace that they took a team higher than them in the standings into an extra five minutes. There is plenty to look forward to in Navotas. Their much maligned home court, the Navotas Sports Complex, is set for a date with the wrecking ball, and will be replaced with a new multi-storey, multi-purpose facility. Team owner Rico Quicho and city mayor Toby Tiangco, as well as congressman John Rey Tiangco appear staunchly committed to the franchise. The team may be in the bottom half of the standings, but Navotas is looking to the future in the knowledge that hard work will be their key to success......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 18th, 2019

Phillies fire manager Gabe Kapler in hyped season gone wrong

By Rob Maaddi, Associated Press PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Gabe Kapler took the fall for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was fired Thursday, nearly two weeks after a disappointing finish to a season of big expectations highlighted by Bryce Harper's arrival. Kapler went 161-163 in two years, his team unable to deliver following its offseason spending spree. Philadelphia finished 81-81, its first nonlosing season since 2012. "Several years ago, I promised our loyal fans that I would do everything in my power to bring a world championship team to our city. I will never waver from that commitment," Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement. "I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective. Consequently, we will replace our manager. I am indebted to Gabe for the steadfast effort, energy and enthusiasm that he brought to our club, and we are unquestionably a better team and organization as a result of his contributions." The Phillies were only two games behind in the NL wild-card standings after beating Atlanta on Sept. 18 but lost eight of the next nine, including a five-game sweep at Washington. They finished eight games behind Milwaukee for the second wild card and 16 behind the first-place Braves in the NL East. Last year, the Phillies had a one-game lead in the division on Aug. 11 before going 15-31 the rest of the way. "When we hired Kap, it was our goal to develop a positive, forward-thinking and collaborative culture throughout the organization that would allow us to compete with the best teams in the league year in and year out," general manager Matt Klentak said. "While we have fallen short in the win column for the last two years, I can confidently say that Kap's efforts have established a strong and sustainable foundation for this organization moving forward." He added that in the coming weeks the baseball operations department will try to "find the right individual to build upon the existing foundation and bring a championship home to Philadelphia." The Phillies are the eighth team changing managers among the 20 that failed to reach the postseason. San Francisco's Bruce Bochy and Kansas City's Ned Yost retired. San Diego's Andy Green, Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle, the New York Mets' Mickey Callaway and the Los Angeles Angels' Brad Ausmus were fired. The Chicago Cubs and Joe Maddon jointly said he would leave. Injuries were a big reason why the Phillies failed to have a winning record for the first time since 2011. They lost leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen for the season in June and six of their top seven relievers missed significant time. Free-agent addition David Robertson pitched just 6 2/3 innings and Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter threw a combined 23 innings. Also, starting center fielder Odubel Herrera played just 39 games before he was suspended for the rest of the season under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. The team also announced pitching coach Chris Young, head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and assistant athletic trainer Chris Mudd will not return. Hitting coach Charlie Manuel will return to his role as a senior adviser. The new manager will inherit the remainder of the coaching staff. Despite adding Harper, McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, the offense was inconsistent, and the Phillies couldn't string together more than four victories in a row. Hitting coach John Mallee was fired and replaced by Manuel, a former manager, in August. The Phillies improved but couldn't overcome poor pitching. The starting rotation struggled throughout the season and the injury-depleted bullpen was filled with minor leaguers and castoffs. "We came into 2019 with very high hopes. We fell short of those, and that responsibility lies with me," Kapler said. "The next Phillies manager will inherit a team of talented, dedicated and committed players. There has been nothing more fulfilling in my professional career than the opportunity to work with the players on this team." The Phillies began the season with a three-game sweep of Atlanta, and led the division for two months before falling behind the Braves in June. By the trade deadline, team President Andy MacPhail said he didn't think the club was one or two players away from World Series contention so Klentak made a few minor moves rather than dealing prospects for high-profile players. Kapler wasn't popular in Philly because of his laid-back personality and new-school philosophy. He was heavily criticized for his use of analytics and unfairly ridiculed for being too positive in his assessment of his players. Harper, Realmuto and other players backed their manager but management caved to public pressure. "My hope is that I helped contribute to a developing culture in the organization that flourishes in the years to come," Kapler said. "I've come to care for this franchise and have the best wishes for this group in the future. The passion and devotion of the Phillies fan base both inspired and humbled me daily. It was an honor to grow, develop and learn with this team. I'm looking forward to what the future brings, and I know I'm a better leader and person for having had this opportunity." The team's dismal pitching certainly wasn't Kapler's fault. The Phillies counted on Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez to fill out a rotation led by ace Aaron Nola. Arrieta struggled and needed elbow surgery. Pivetta was demoted to the minors and moved to the bullpen. Eflin had had ups and downs and Velasquez couldn't pitch deep into games. Even Nola wasn't the same guy who finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting last year. Klentak traded for Jason Vargas and signed Drew Smyly and added other pitchers off waivers. That didn't cut it. Still, Kapler took the fall for the team's shortcomings......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2019

MLB attendance drops in boom-bust era of big winners, losers

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has entered the Boom/Bust Era. An unprecedented four teams are set to win 100 games in the same season, perhaps even five. Four clubs lost in triple figures for only the second time. Amid widespread claims the baseballs have changed, hitters shattered the home run record for the second time in three seasons. And sparked by batters going for the fences to beat suffocating shifts, strikeouts set a record for the 12th year in a row and outnumbered hits for the second straight season. With some teams out of contention even before their first pitch, average attendance has dropped four years in a row for the first time since the commissioner's office started tracking it in 1980. "We're going to draw 68-plus million people at the big league level," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said this week, "another 41 million in minor league baseball — they're actually going to be up. I'll take 110 million people going to see the sport live. That's a really, really awesome number in an environment where people have more and more and more alternatives to consume." More and more teams have adopted an all-in or all-out philosophy. If they don't think they can win it, why bother to be in it? Better to shed expensive veterans and rebuild with cheaper rookies — and incur the box-office hit. Management calls that prudent rebuilding. The players' association labels it tanking. "We have some of the most remarkably talented players our game has seen as a whole in a long time," union head Tony Clark said. "But the willful failure of too many franchises to field competitive teams and put their best players on the field is unquestionably hurting our industry." San Francisco has dropped from 3.2 million fans at home to about 2.7 million, Seattle and Toronto both from 2.3 million to about 1.8 million. Baltimore drew 1.3 million, its lowest total at home in a non-strike shortened season since 1978. Kansas City's 1.5 million is its lowest since 2006. While Philadelphia rose by about 500,000 following the signing of Bryce Harper and Minnesota by 300,000 during the Twins' winningest regular season in a half-century and San Diego by over 200,000 after adding Manny Machado, about half the teams are headed to declines. This year's drop was just around 2% with three days left in the regular season, from 28,830 to 28,252, but the final average should rise slightly after weekend games. The average fell below 30,000 last year for the first time since 2003. Manfred points to increases in television viewers. Fox is up 9% this year and at a seven-year high, and local broadcasts are first in prime time in 24 of 25 markets. Use of MLB's At-Bat app is up 18%. Still, wins and attendance are correlated in many markets. "We've lost a lot of games this year, a few more than we wanted to, but ultimately it's about getting on the right side of things and sometimes you do have to take a step back," said Mariners manager Scott Servais, whose team entered the weekend 66-93. "The disparity in the game between the top and the bottom, it's real. There's no question about it. Is it good for the game? I don't know. I do know that there are a lot of really smart people that work in front offices and ownership groups and they do realize that sometimes you do need to pull back, and that's what we're doing, and I'm all in because I think it's going to work." Houston (104 wins), the Los Angeles Dodgers (103) and New York Yankees (102) all broke the century mark with time to spare, and Minnesota (99) and Atlanta had a chance to join them. It's the third consecutive year three teams have reached 100 — before this run it occurred only in 1942, 1977, 1998, 2002 and 2003. Detroit (112), Baltimore (107), Miami (103) and Kansas City (101) gave baseball four 100-loss teams for the first time since 2002. One-sided season series included Houston going 18-1 against Seattle and the Yankees 17-1 vs. Baltimore. "Whether a team loses 95 or loses 100, I just don't see that as a relevant issue," Manfred said. "I think the more important point is that we have different clubs from all sorts of market sizes that are successful." Players are upset that many teams failed to pursue free agents the last two offseasons, executives concentrating two-to-five years into the future rather than trying to win now. "Each free agent market is a little bit different, but what we have seen that seems to be consistent over these last two markets is this all-in and all-out mentality," Clark said. Still, spending and success are not completely linked. Tampa Bay, last in payroll at $66 million, has a chance to make the playoffs along with Oakland, 25th at $95 million. Three of the six highest payrolls failed to reach the postseason: No. 1 Boston ($228 million), the No. 3 Chicago Cubs ($217 million) and No. 6 San Francisco ($181 million). Throughout the game, the increase in home runs and strikeouts has been a constant. The 6,647 home runs through Thursday were up 19% from last year and well above the previous record of 6,105 in 2017. About half the clubs are on track to establish team records, led by Minnesota (301) and the Yankees (299), who set the previous big league mark of 267 last year. Already 128 players have hit 20 or more homers, 11 more than the old high set in 2017, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Among that group, 55 have reached 30 to better the record of 47 that had stood since 2000. And 23 pitchers have 200 or more strikeouts, topping the post-1900 record of 18 in both 2015 and last year, Elias said. Baseball's efforts to quicken the pace of games have not resulted in swifter play: the average time of a nine-inning game is 3:05:35, up from 3:00:44 last year and 3:05:11 in 2017. MLB and players have agreed to cut the active roster size from Sept. 1 on from 40 to 28 and increase the maximum from 25 to 26 from opening day through Aug. 31, which should cut down on late-season pitching changes. Management has not decided whether to exercise its right to install pitch clocks and a three-batter minimum for next year. "We'll have a final answer once I have a chance to review the issue with ownership in November," Manfred said. On-field rules are part of collective bargaining. The sides agreed last winter to an early start to negotiations for a labor deal to replace the agreement that expires in December 2021. But there have been just three negotiating meetings, one of them a preliminary session, and the labor rules will remain unchanged this offseason. "We made a deal in 2016. We're good," Manfred said. "The union's got to decide what it is they want us to consider. When they're ready to do that, I'm sure they will make a proposal." Said Clark: "We have had conversations. We anticipate those conversations continuing and at the point in time that they lend themselves to proposals from both sides, then we'll do so." ___ AP Sports Writer Tim Booth contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 28th, 2019

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2019