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Morikawa builds big lead at Muirfield Village before storms

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Among the lessons Collin Morikawa took away from missing his first cut as a pro was that his reliable cut shot had left him. He found at it Muirfield Village, and suddenly looks as though he'll be tough to catch at the Workday Charity Open. Morikawa ran off four straight birdies after making the turn Friday, finished with another birdie and shot 6-under 66 to build a four-shot lead over Sam Burns (66) in the storm-delayed tournament. His 13-under 131 was one shot off the course record set by Jason Dufner in 2017 at the Memorial. The Workday Charity Open, which replaces the canceled John Deere Classic for this year only, has been set up a little easier than it will be for the Memorial next year, with slightly slower greens and rough that isn't quite as high or thick. Morikawa is still playing a different brand of golf than anyone else. Through two rounds, he has 15 birdies and an eagle. His four bogeys have come from silly mistakes that are bound to happen. Ian Poulter, back at Muirfield Village for the first time since 2009 because of a reconfigured schedule brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, had a 69 and joined Chase Seiffert (69) at 7-under 137. The second round had a pair of 75-minute delays because of the rumbling thunder and lightning that seems to appear whenever the PGA Tour is at Muirfield Village. “Who knows who's going to take it deep today?” Morikawa said. “Whether I have the lead or not, I've got to go into the weekend feeling like I've got to make the same amount of birdies I have the past two days. I feel like there’s a lot of birdies out there for me especially, the way I’ve been hitting it.” Morikawa, who turned pro just over a year ago after graduating from Cal, is making his debut at the course Jack Nicklaus built, and perhaps it's no coincidence that Nicklaus was famous for hitting a cut. “I had heard from a lot of people before, this course was going to suit a left-to-right shot, anyway,” Morikawa said. “Obviously, Jack hit that, and I think it does. But I’ve been able to leave myself some really good numbers into approach shots. I’ve been keeping myself in the fairway for the most part, and that obviously helps.” Among those playing in the afternoon, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka first had to worry about making the cut after sluggish starts. Koepka started at 2 over. Rahm was at even par. Phil Mickelson had another exciting day, minus the meltdown at the end of his round. He opened by chipping in for birdie and making a 12-foot eagle putt. With the tee moved forward on the 14th hole, the par 4 guarded by a pond right of the green, he hit driver to 10 feet and had to settle for birdie. And right before the first batch of storms arrived, Mickelson felt the wind shift and get stronger, so he took driver on the par-5 fifth and whaled away over the trees and just inside backyard fences. It settled in the rough, but it left him only 114 yards away and a pitching wedge to the green. The speed of the greens fooled him, and he repeatedly left putts short. Even so, he managed to post a reasonable number. Jordan Spieth wasn't as fortunate. He took double bogey on his 17th hole, the par-3 eighth, and was likely to miss the cut. Morikawa had made 22 cuts in a row to start his pro career, a streak that ended two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship. That was three short of the streak Tiger Woods put together when he turned pro. But the 23-year-old Californian was more interested in low scores than simply getting in four rounds and a pay check. “At the end of the day, you’re out there to win tournaments,” he said. “If you miss the cut, make it by whatever, you just want to learn from each week. And like I said, I learned a lot from those two days missing the cut than I have in a lot of events so far when I’ve been finishing whatever." This one caused him to take a closer look at what was lacking in his game, instead of being reasonably content with a solid finish. “I think sometimes when something really doesn’t go your way, like missing a cut, it just stands out a little more,” he said. Somewhere along the way, he couldn't rely on his cut shot, allowing him to aim some 6 yards left of his target and fade it toward the pin, no matter where it was located. It was after his practice round Wednesday that he figured out what was missing, and he went back to an old drill of sticking his glove under his left arm. It's a rotational drill, and it paid off. He had to wait until the storms to see if anyone could catch him, with the second round not likely to end until Saturday......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports12 hr. 31 min. ago Related News

Adiwang would fight Johnson now if offered

Filipino mixed martial arts sensation Lito “The Thunder Kid” Adiwang is only in his sophomore year in ONE Championship, but he’s already taken the promotion by storm......»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: SportsJul 10th, 2020Related News

NBA Restart Team Overview: Phoenix Suns

RECORD: 26-39, 13th-place, two games behind 12th-place San Antonio, 2 1/2 games behind the three teams virtually tied for ninth-place (Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento), and six games behind eighth-place Memphis. OVERVIEW: The Suns are having their best season since 2014-15 as they seek their first playoff appearance in 10 years. All-Star Devin Booker, 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, and the emerging Kelly Oubre Jr. form a promising young core. NUMBER TO KNOW: Phoenix averages an NBA-leading 27.2 assists per game.  SEEDING GAMES: vs Washington Wizards (8/1) vs Dallas Mavericks (8/3) vs Los Angeles Clippers (8/5) vs Indiana Pacers (8/7) vs Miami Heat (8/9) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (8/11) vs Philadelphia 76ers (8/12) vs Dallas Mavericks (8/14).....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJul 10th, 2020Related News

NBA Restart Team Overview: Washington Wizards

RECORD: 24-40, ninth-place, 5 1/2 games behind eighth-place Orlando and six games behind seventh-place Brooklyn OVERVIEW: The Wizards were playing their best basketball of 2019-20 when the season was suspended, posting a 14-16 record in their last 30 games. Rui Hachimura of Japan is the fifth-leading scorer (13.4 ppg) and top rebounder (6.0 rpg) among qualifying NBA rookies. NUMBER TO KNOW: Bradley Beal ranks second in the NBA in points per game at 30.5. KEY ABSENCES: Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans, John Wall (out for season) KEY ADDITIONS: Jerian Grant SEEDING GAMES: vs Phoenix Suns (8/1) vs Brooklyn Nets (8/3) vs Indiana Pacers (8/4) vs Philadelphia 76ers (8/6) vs New Orleans Pelicans (8/8) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (8/10) vs Milwaukee Bucks (8/12) vs Boston Celtics (8/14) .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJul 9th, 2020Related News

NBA players may be allowed to have social justice messages on jerseys

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – NBA players could be allowed to wear jerseys bearing slogans supporting social justice causes or charities instead of their names when the league resumes next month, ESPN reported Sunday. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, president of the National Basketball Players Association, told ESPN’s The Undefeated website that players were in […].....»»

Source: Tempo TempoCategory: NewsJun 29th, 2020Related News

Thunder Kid Adiwang wants shot at dethroning Flyweight King Johnson

Holding a five-bout winning streak from his stint in the ONE Championship ONE Warrior Series to his pro debut with the Singapore-based promotion, Adiwang is eager to test his mettle with the "Flyweight King"......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJun 24th, 2020Related News

Giannis Antetokounmpo, D Angelo Russell join anti-racism protests

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Minnesota Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell are two of the latest NBA stars to join demonstrations against racism in the United States......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJun 7th, 2020Related News

Muzzle Mr. Met? Mascots wonder why they re banned from MLB

By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Phillie Phanatic had stories of his favorite adventures -- from the Galapagos Islands to the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia -- read to him most weeks from his very best buds. The Philly furball was tucked in with a bedtime story from Bryce Harper. Andrew McCutchen and manager Joe Girardi stopped by as guest readers to entertain fans and unite the Phillies community. But should the Phillies play ball this year, well, the book will close on the Phanatic. MLB wants to ban the birds -- sorry, Pirate Parrot -- and Bernie Brewer, Blooper, Bernie the Marlin, heck, all costumed creatures great and small from the ballpark this season. Firebird, Paws, the Oriole Bird, all face extinction -- at least this season, should baseball resume. Not even a muzzle on Mr. Met or a mask on Mariner Moose would help the cause. Gasp! Baseball’s furriest and funniest fans are forbidden from entering a ballpark. And that’s not cool. “Every mascot should be essential because of its ability to connect and distract with fun,” mascot guru Dave Raymond said. Raymond should know as well as any performer, as the first person to take on the 6-foot-6, 300-pound, 90-inch waist frame of the Phanatic. He’s since become a mascot consultant to the stars and helped create, brand and train the next generation of hundreds of stadium characters. Mascots are as much a ballpark staple as hot dogs and the long ball, and each fuzzy fist bump or chance concourse encounter hooks the youngest fans on the game. As baseball prepares for a summer slate without fans, Raymond wonders: What’s a game without a mascot? “You don’t have to convince me of that,” Raymond said. “It’s the powers that be that don’t understand that simple truth.” There’s already a blueprint MLB could follow that explains why mascots fit in barren ballparks. Take a look across the globe. Mascots remained a staple of baseball games in Taiwan and the KBO League in South Korea. American fans who stayed up late (or is it, woke up early?) to watch KBO games on ESPN were mesmerized by mascots gone wild in empty stadiums. The LG Twins mascots -- twin robot boys named Lucky and Star -- wore masks. So did cheerleaders and a drum section that provided the soundtrack for an otherwise dreary atmosphere. The Chinese Professional Baseball League barred spectators over concerns of spreading the new coronavirus in a crowded space, but the league decided it was safe to let in cheerleaders and costumed mascots. “This is the most important time to leverage fun, when people are sick and dying and dealing with the brutality of life,” Raymond said. “That is the time that you find a way to distract people and entertain them.” Philadelphia Inquirer cartoonist Rob Tornoe drew the Phanatic (wearing a mask) sitting atop the dugout with his phone and on hold with the unemployment office. “This is life or death now for a lot of characters, a lot of performers,” former Timberwolves mascot Jon Cudo said. It’s not that dire for most MLB performers who often have other duties within the organization or remained active in the community with food drives, firetruck parades or other feel-good efforts during the pandemic. Raymond had former and current mascots, including Cudo, join this week on his webinar, “What The Heck Should My Mascot Do Now?” The best suggestion to stay connected with fans -- with the ATV temporarily parked -- is engaging through social content. Mascot Mania has gone wild on Instagram and TikTok. Mr. Met cleans windows. D. Baxter the Bobcat taught crosswalk safety. Wally the Green Monster records virtual messages for charity. Then again, mascots have problems just like us: Who gives the Phanatic a trim during quarantine? “The Phanatic doesn’t need to get his hair cut,” Raymond said. “It’s actually a positive when it gets unkempt and long.” The Phanatic already underwent one makeover this year — his new look features flightless feathers rather than fur-colored arms, stars outlining the eyes, a larger posterior and a powder blue tail, blue socks with red shoes, plus a set of scales under the arms — because of a lawsuit filed against the team by the creators of the original Phanatic. The creators threatened to terminate the Phillies’ rights to the Phanatic as of June 15 and “make the Phanatic a free agent” unless the team renegotiated its 1984 agreement to acquire the mascot’s rights. Mascots were lumped in with other baseball traditions that would be weeded out under a 2020 proposal. The traditional exchange of lineup cards would be eliminated, along with high-fives, fist bumps and bat boys and girls. “I don’t know of anybody who bought season tickets to watch the bat boy,” Raymond said. “But you can say that in spades for the mascots. We’d be losing one of the draws that brings in people beyond the statistic nerds.” Plus, any fan who attended a Phillies game in the late 1990s at Veterans Stadium knows the Phanatic can play in an empty ballpark. Mascots just want to honk, honk, honk for the home team and they do care if they ever get back. “I’m just imploring them to value the character brands,” Raymond said. “There is a safe way for you to have fun, and frankly, fun is the most important thing you can invest in right now.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMay 31st, 2020Related News

Minnesota Timberwolves Towns, Okogie join in rally in support of George Floyd

Held at the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda, Towns and Okogie showed their support for Floyd, who died in police custody after pleading that he could not breathe......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsMay 30th, 2020Related News

Gallinari says precautions must be in place if NBA season restarts

New York--Italy's Danilo Gallinari likes the chances his Oklahoma City Thunder make a deep NBA playoff run if the season resumes, but says safety must be emphasized in any comeback plan......»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: SportsMay 22nd, 2020Related News

Lito Adiwang talks training at Team Lakay, dream match with Demetrious Johnson

Team Lakay strawweight Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang has been on fire since coming up to the main roster of ONE Championship.  Adiwang, who earned a ONE contract after three wins on Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, scored back-to-back submission wins on the big show, first against Japanese contender Senzo Ikeda and then against Thai star Pongsiri Mitsatit.  Adiwang’s immediate success however, should not come as a surprise, considering that he’s got some really good teammates around him over at the La Trinidad-based gym.  On a daily basis (at least before the COVID-19 pandemic), Adiwang sharpened his tools alongside world champions like Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, Kevin Belingon, Honorio Banario, Stephen Loman, and of course, reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio.  Being around all those winners, Adiwang admits that training can sometimes get a bit intense, which is expected since everyone is working towards a common goal and everyone is looking to push each other.  “Training at Team Lakay is intense. I’m very fortunate to be working with a great group of guys who are not just talented and highly-skilled, but also close like family,” Adiwang shared in an interview with ONE Championship. “There are instances when we are really deep in training, and we let loose and forget to hold back. There’s the occasional heavy shot we land here and there, or sometimes we put each other in some painful submissions.” “But we’re all professionals, and we know it’s part of the game. We just say sorry and continue with no hard feelings. After all, we’re like brothers here,” he continued.  Adiwang is just two fights into his ONE Championship career, but by the looks of it, he’s primed for an upward trajectory.  In the same light, his teammate Pacio, who has handily defeated some of the division’s top contenders and former champions, also appears to be at the top of the heap for a while.  It appears as though their paths could inevitably cross.  “My personal goal is to be known as one of the best fighters in the division. Of course, I want to eventually compete for a World Title. It’s every athlete’s dream to become a World Champion,” Adiwang stated.  As has been the case with former Team Lakay champions and their teammates in the same division however, Adiwang would rather not fight his family. “While it will ultimately depend on ONE Championship, I still prefer not to face Joshua Pacio as much as possible. I want to avoid that. Instead, I want the top guys in the division,” Adiwang expressed.  Fortunately for the 27-year old, the strawweight division presents a number of possibilities for him to raise his stock.  “Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, Yoshitaka Naito, Alex Silva, Yosuke Saruta -- these are all great matchups for me and challenges I’m willing to face. I just want to face the best and prove myself. My plan is to keep taking on anyone they put in front of me and beat them. I’ll take any fight, no matter how short the notice. I’m always ready, always training, and always ready for action,” he continued.  If Pacio’s reign at the top of the strawweight division continues, Adiwang says he’s open to jumping up to the flyweight division to test himself there.  “If Joshua still has the belt in the next couple of years, I have no issues moving up to flyweight to take on challenges there. There’s a lot of great talent in that division that I wouldn’t mind testing myself against. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.”  A move to flyweight will move Adiwang a step closer to a potential matchup with ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix champion and MMA legend Demetrious Johnson, a bout that he’s longed for.  “That would be a dream come true for me,” Adiwang said. “Demetrious Johnson is the best in the world right now, in my opinion. And I’ve dreamed of facing him since I started my career. Before, that was just an impossible dream. But now that he’s with ONE Championship, it’s closer to reality.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsMay 22nd, 2020Related News

Adiwang toughened by intense Team Lakay training

Rising ONE Championship strawweight prospect Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang of the Philippines is one of the most exciting athletes in his division. With a knack for scoring highlight-reel finishes, and electrifying huge crowds with his fan-pleasing style, Adiwang has captivated audiences in his time inside the ONE Circle......»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: SportsMay 19th, 2020Related News

Adiwang uses lockdown to reconnect with family

As the Philippines enters its third month in lockdown, Team Lakay’s Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang is spending his days in quarantine productively.  .....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: SportsMay 10th, 2020Related News

CAMPEONE: Year of the Tiger (2010)

(This story was originally published on May 09, 2019) University of Sto. Tomas head coach Shaq delos Santos looked at his squad inside the dugout of The Arena in San Juan one last time. It was a cool Saturday afternoon. He took a glimpse at his graduating hitter Angge Tabaquero, who was all pumped up, but was feeling under the weather and could barely speak because of a sore throat. Delos Santos then shifted his eyes towards fourth-year team captain Aiza Maizo, Maika Ortiz, libero Jessica Curato, then to his prized rookies Dindin Santiago and Maru Banaticla. From their closed locker room, the Tigresses could hear the drums outside and felt the vibration that followed. The weekend crowd packed the venue in a sea of yellow and green. Excitement filled the air. It was electric. Less than an hour before, coach Emil Lontoc celebrated the Tigers’ conquest of Far Eastern University to complete a three-peat in the men's division. With his eyes closed, Delos Santos murmured one last prayer. Then there was a soft tap on their dugout door. It was time to march to the court for the official warm-up for Game 2 of the UAAP Season 72 women’s volleyball tournament.   THE YOUNG AND THE BOLD Delos Santos knew that they’re in for ride in Season 72.   They prided themselves with three pre-season titles, but those conquests meant nothing when it comes to their mother league. “Before mag-start (ang season), for me, hindi ko napi-feel na magtsa-champion agad kami,” said Delos Santos. “Kasi ang adjustment kailangan makita mo muna ang lahat ng naglalaro. So depende pa rin sa nilalaro ng every team na makakalaban mo.” And besides, the mentor will be navigating with a young crew, mostly in their early collegiate careers save for Maizo and returning Tabaquero, two of the remaining heroes of UST’s Season 69 championship run. Maizo was named team captain while Tabaquero, who skipped Season 71 for personal reasons, brought in the needed veteran presence to guide the squad. “Ako personally ang mindset ko sobrang hungry lang rin ako personally and I think si Aiza rin kasi halos pa-exit na rin siya nun,” said Tabaquero. “Ako sobrang gusto ko lang for myself na maka-graduate sa UAAP on a high note.” “On a high lang ako nun kumbaga, ‘Last playing year ko na ‘to wala na akong balikan pa, ibubuhos ko na lahat,’ she added. “Plus the fact na hindi ako nakapaglaro noong Season 71 dagdag gutom sa akin ‘yun.” But then again, the Tigresses remained relatively young. Dimaculangan was just in her third year, her first two saw the bitter memory of losing the title in the semifinals at the hands of the Rachel Anne Daquis-led Far Eastern University and then another Final Four heartache against the same tormentors the following year. Ortiz, Hannah Mance and Curato barely had enough experience on them so did Judy Ann Caballejo.   Then there were the young bloods. UST got a pair of blue-chip recruits in a small but high-flying power-hitter in Banaticla and a lanky 6-footer Santiago.   The Tigresses were parading a decent squad, but not a super team that they had before with Mary Jean Balse and Venus Bernal.       “Nagkaroon kami ng mga rookies noon,” said Dimaculangan. “Nu’ng time na ‘yun kumpiyansa naman ako sa team kasi bakit ka pa maghahanap ng mga wala o bakit ka pa hahanap ng mga naka-graduate na? So kung ano na lang ang meron kami siguro doon na lang.” Delos Santos, himself, was just on his second year as head coach after taking the reins from legendary mentor August Sta. Maria, who suffered a stroke in 2008. Expectations were high from the UST faithful. For the Tigresses, they just have to deliver.   STRUGGLE WITHIN The Tigresses began the season with an early litmus test. Their first game: against the defending champions De La Salle University Lady Spikers. UST faced a squad assembled to build a dynasty. DLSU was denied of a four-peat three years ago when the league suspended the school in Season 69 because of an eligibility issue with its men’s basketball team. In Season 70, the Lady Spikers were forced to forfeit games because of another eligibility issue with Jacq Alarca. The following year, in Manilla Santos’ final year, DLSU reclaimed the throne. Now, looking to for a repeat, the Lady Spikers just need to break the will of one of their threats. DLSU paraded a formidable team centered on its ‘Big Three’ in Alarca, skipper Paneng Mercado, daughter of Asia’s Sprint Queen Lydia De Vega-Mercado, and versatile hitter Cha Cruz. Then there’s the great wall of Michele Gumabao and rookies Aby Marano and Joanne Siy, who would eventually win the Rookie of the Year and Best Blocker awards. UST was facing a nightmare. But the Tigresses were undaunted. They clung on the confidence of bringing down the same giant they slew in the UniGames championship before the start of the season. With guns blazing and adrenaline in their veins, the Tigresses were able to control the match as they led, 2-1. Then comes their Achilles’ heel. UST was a determined team, but the Lady Spikers had in them the championship experience, the veteran composure of a battle-tested squad. The Tigresses had no answer to that. DLSU walked away with a 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11, victory to start its amazing elimination round winning streak. UST recovered in the next three games, walking past University of the Philippines, a rebuilding FEU, and cellar-dwellers National University. Then came another big challenge. The Tigresses collided with a feisty young team in Ateneo de Manila University bannered by a hyped Fab Five of sophomores Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Fille Cainglet, setter Jem Ferrer and A Nacachi. The result was a shocker: the Lady Eagles upset the Tigresses. It may not show inside the court, but the Tigresses were struggling from the inside.   Delos Santos admitted that being a Tigress under his watch was not for the faint of heart. His relationship with the players was not smooth. He was a blacksmith trying to sharpen a deadly weapon. He needed to put his players into the blazing fire of his Spartan-like training, hammer them into shape and sharpen them into a weapon ready for brutal war.       “Napaka-strict ko kaya medyo ano sila sa akin pero at the end of the day na-realize rin nila na ang lahat ng sinasalihan naming tournament, lahat ng paghihirap namin, kapag naglalaro kami talagang quality,” he said. “’Yung pinaghirapan namin talagang nilalabas namin sa game.” Dimaculangan recalled that that season was marred with conflicts within the team. “’Yung year na 'yun ang dami talagang pinagdaanan. Ang daming naging issues,” she said declining to divulge what the problems were. “Lahat kami takot sa kanya (Delos Santos). Tapos my time din na feeling namin nabe-burnout na kami.” “Baliktad nga eh kasi kung kailan ang dami naming issue doon pa namin nasabi na ‘Ay kailangan nating mag-champion.’ Ganoon ang feeling namin,” Dimaculangan added. Tabaquero would simply describe that Tigresses team as ‘shaky’. “On the rocks ang team and noon may internal issues din,” she revealed. “Medyo magulo siya pero as players, ‘Kung may mangyari man dyan, labas na sa volleyball ‘yan. Kung ano ang pini-perform natin maglaro tayo ng maayos.’ Siguro yun na lang ang tumatakbo sa isip namin.” Whatever the issues were inside their team, the Tigresses were able to put them aside as they made an amazing run to close the eliminations. “Nagulat kami kasi sobrang nakasabay ang mga bata,” said Tabaquero. “Kami ni Aiza halos ang nag-lead sa team na ‘yun pero kasi experienced na ang mga bata na ‘yun kasi coming from UST program sila eh.” “So medyo kumbaga ang pinanggalingan nilang team mataas din so I guess doon na lang din sila humugot from their experience sa high school. Nadala na lang din siguro pagdating nila,” she added.   ENTERING THE END GAME Valentine’s Day. With most of the country looking forward to celebrate that special Sunday, the Tigresses were preparing for something bigger. It was their most-awaited rematch with the Lady Spikers, who heading into that game were already ravaging the league with 13 straight victories. One win and DLSU will enter the Finals outright armed with a thrice-to-beat advantage.   The Tigresses didn’t allow that. UST prevented a Lady Spikers elims sweep by slipping past DLSU in a thrilling five-setter. The Tigresses avoided a stepladder semifinals. UST ended the elims with a nine-game winning streak and second-best 12-2 win-loss record. From there everything changed. “Kasi nakuha nila (ang panalo) sa first round then February 14 tinalo namin sila so dun tumaas ang kumpiyansa namin na ‘Ah kaya namin itong La Salle,’” said Tabaquero. The Tigresses came in the Final Four armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against Ateneo. They split their elims head-to-head but now UST wanted to settle an old score. It was Maizo and Tabaquero who did most of the damage in the Final Four as the Tigresses crushed the Lady Eagles, 25-12, 25-23, 25-20, all while playing without starting libero Curato, who was out because of typhoid fever. “I guess kung ikaw mayroon kang chance na makapasok sa championship siguro ibibigay mo ang lahat. Laban kung laban,” said Tabaquero. “’Yun talaga ang mentalidad namin nu’ng time na yun. ‘Yun ang nag-push sa amin na, ‘For championship ito, ibibigay namin ang lahat 110%.’” Earlier that playdate, the Lady Spikers took the other Finals berth after booting out Adamson University, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22.         "EH ANO NGAYON KUNG DEFENDING CHAMPION KAYO?" Maizo and Tabaquero were UST’s contrasting leaders. They're yin and yang. Maizo was a silent operator. She would rather let her work do the talking. Tabaquero was from a different world. She will get under your skin, play with your head and she was just plain nasty. “Season 69 pa lang salbahe na ako maglaro,” she admitted. “Dun lumabas ‘yung moniker ko na ‘Pamewang Queen’. Sobrang intense lang din ng game namin ng FEU nun. Parang sobrang thrashtalkan. Hindi mo man makita on-cam pero doon pa lang talagang may verbal.” She’s no different in Season 72. “Hindi naman sa mayabang ako pero nasa utak ko nu’ng time na yun, ‘Ay kaya namin kayo kasi tinalo namin kayo nu’ng eliminations,’” Tabaquero continued.  “Doon ako humugot ng lakas na, ‘hindi tayo papatalo rito.’ Sobrang inspired lang din siguro akong maglaro noon kasi ang daming tao nun. Grabe puno itong San Juan Arena,” she recalled.    Facing DLSU, Tabaquero knew they can rip the crown off the Lady Spikers’ heads. “Ako personally, ‘Eh ano ngayon kung defending champion kayo?” she said. It was 2010 and UST just needed to look at the Chinese calendar for an inspiration.    “Year of the Tiger yun, sumakto,” said Dimaculangan. “Iba ang kompiyansa namin na parang amin ‘to.” The Tigresses could see the stars aligning for them, the opportunity was there. Then came the best-of-three series opener. Delos Santos was not new to the Finals. He worked as Sta. Maria’s deputy before. But this was his biggest challenge. His shining moment. Looking back, he felt that Sta. Maria molded him for this situation. “Before nakakuha rin kami ng isa pang championship eh. Sina Bernal, Balse pero si Coach August ang head coach pa nun that time,” he said. “Ang ginawa niya that time sobrang gusto niyang mag-grow ako. Noong Finals namin against FEU, umalis siya. Hindi siya nagpunta ng game tapos nung mag-start na ang game hinahanap ko siya,” Delos Santos continued. “Tinawagan ko siya, sabi ko, ‘Boss nasaan ka?’ Nasa norte siya eh parteng norte." "Sabi ko, ‘boss nasaan ka?’ Sabi niya, ‘kayang-kaya mo na ‘yan. Ikaw ng bahala dyan,’” he said. “’Yung time na yun doon ko na-feel na grabe ang tiwala niya sa akin.” Against a taller Lady Spikers side, Delos Santos needed just one key to success: speed. “I think that time sobrang lucky ko rin kasi ang mga players ko. Yun nga sina Rhea na, sina Tabaquero, sina Aiza. So that time yung system na gusto naming mangyari, more on lalo na kailangang maging speedy kami. Mabilis kami, nakuha namin that time. Siguro yun ang naging key,” he said. “Kasi knowing La Salle ang no. 1 weapon nila is blocking eh. Bukod dun sa service nila na napakabigat, yung blocking. Mayroon silang malalaking players and ang ganda lagi ng line-up nila,” Delos Santos said. As the battle ensued, Delos Santos felt that they had the upper hand. “I think nu’ng time na ‘yun medyo na-feel ko na makukuha namin,” he said. “That time na naglaro na kami sabi ko, sa galawan na nangyayari nakuha namin yung magandang diskarte.” And that strategy was to exploit the height disadvantage of DLSU setter Kaye Martinez. For Delos Santos the best way to stop the Lady Spikers’ deadly arrows was to break their bow.  “That time malalaki sila pero meron silang maliit na setter. Maliit ang setter nila so more on dun kami nagsi-set play ng nagsi-set play,” he said. “Nagkaroon din kami ng magandang receive and then si Rhea nabibigay niya ng maayos sa mga spikers.”  It was shocker. UST recovered from a set down to beat DLSU, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16, 25-21.   For the first time in Season 72, the Taft-based squad got its back against the wall.   SHAQ THE WORLD The Tigresses were on a high as they arrived at the game venue in the last weekend of February just three days after shocking the Lady Spikers in the series opener.     Entering the venue, the Tigresses were greeted by a huge crowd of UST faithful, all hoping for the clincher.  Tabaquero was feeling ill that day. “Naalala ko may sakit ako nu’ng Game 2. Wala akong boses nun,” said the senior, who skipped Thursday’s practice to rest. But Tabaquero was determined to play one last time, give her team the firepower and angst it needed, to finish her collegiate career on top.   “Wala ng sakit-sakit, di pwedeng may sakit. Di ko na siya nararamdaman. Minsan napapagod pero wala kailangang magsakripisyo. Saka yung adrenaline ko sobrang taas nun,” said Tabaquero. As the Tigresses trooped to the court for the warm-up, they were showered by loud cheers from the UST fans. “Go USTe! Go USTe!” echoed inside the arena like a rolling thunder signaling the arrival of a storm. A serenade for conquering heroes. There was a huge banner that read: ‘Kami po ang University of Sto. Tomas.’ It added fuel to the Tigresses’ burning desire to reclaim the throne. The squad came into the venue brimming with confidence but with their supporters egging them on even before the opening serve, the Tigresses felt invincible. They were. UST dismantled the confused Lady Spikers in the first two sets, dominating DLSU with sharp angled attacks and frustrating its blockers. Defensively, the Tigresses were punishing DLSU’s attackers. “Dumipensa lang talaga kami noon saka nagkaroon kami ng first ball. ‘Yun talaga ang edge namin nun,” said Dimaculangan. “Kumbaga parang hindi ako masyadong nahirapang dumiskarte kasi alam kong darating sa akin ang bola.” The Lady Spikers’ defense was also in disarray. Even DLSU’s celebrated libero Mel Gohing, the rookie of the year the season before, was already struggling to keep up with the Lady Spikers’ net defense collapsing. “Yung mga spikers ko ang gagaling din dumiskarte and alam din nila kung ano ang gagawin nila sa bolang ibinibigay ko sa kanila,” added Dimaculangan. The Tigresses were already smelling blood.   But the Lady Spikers regrouped in the third as hitters Cruz and Mercado’s hits found their mark. Gumabao, Siy and Maarano were holding their own. DLSU took the third frame in dominating fashion. It may have turned the tides around for the Lady Spikers. It didn’t.      DLSU built an early five-point cushion in the fourth frame, but the Tigresses raced to a 16-11 lead before Gumabao stopped the bleeding with a crosscourt hit.  Maizo then landed an off speed hit over blockers Siy and Martinez, then the lefty again scored another heady off speed this time over Alarca for an 18-12 lead. Then came the deluge of errors by DLSU. The Lady Spikers crowd went quiet in the pivotal run of the Tigresses. A kill block by Ortiz put UST at championship point, 24-13, as the DLSU faithful froze, seemingly awaiting an inevitable defeat. “Parang pa-last point pa lang ata naiiyak na kaming lahat,” said Dimaculangan. An overexcited Tabaquero sent her serve long then Maizo’s attack was turned back. Two match points saved by DLSU. The Lady Spikers tried to hold on. But it was too late. Nerves got the best of Emeli Zuno as she made contact with the ball at the service line.       It sailed long. Pandemonium broke out. “Nagtatalon na kami nu’ng moment na yun, na ‘Heto na ang pinaghirapan natin.’ Ang sarap sa feeling na mag-champion ulit,” said Tabaquero after the final whistle of the season was called with UST completing the sweep with a 25-18, 25-14, 16-25, 25-15, victory.   For Delos Santos that championship was the fruit of their hard labor. “Sobrang happy kasi siyempre nagkaroon kami ng championship sa UST,” said Delos Santos of his only title for the Tigresses as head coach. “Sobrang memorable. Marami rin kaming pinagdaanan (bago makuha),” he added. UST accomplished a double-crown feat in volleyball that year, its fifth since the 1976-77, 1985-86 at 1987-88 and 1992-1993 seasons. As a reward the Tigresses earned a trip to Hong Kong. But even that trip had some good anecdotes for Delos Santos, Dimaculangan and Tabaquero. “Nag-trip to Hong Kong kami for two to three days sa Disneyland at Ocean Park,” said Delos Santos. “Sila lang mahilig mag-rides eh. Ako may phobia ako sa heights. Nung sumakay kami ng cable car para akong mahuhulog na ewan dun sa cable car.” Dimaculangan remembered vividly their flight. “Nag-Hong Kong kami noon tapos sakto pa na bumabagyo noong umalis kami noon. Buti nga natuloy kami noon eh,” she said. As for Tabaquero, unfortunately, she had to skip the trip. “Nagpunta sila ng Hong Kong pero ako di ako nakasama kasi late yung Hong Kong trip. Di ako nakasama kasi na-ACL (left injury) na ako nun sa Shakey’s V-League, yung sa championship ng San Sebastian,” she said. “Naka-schedule na ako ng surgery nun sa UST hospital kaya di ako nakasama.” “May incentive naman ako nun kahit di ako nakasama nun,” Tabaquero cleared. Ten years ago, UST ruled Season 72. It was the year of the Tiger. The year of the mighty, mighty Tigers.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 26th, 2020Related News

Team Lakay stars support ONE Championship s decision to post-pone closed-door events

As the world went into quarantine, sporting events started to either get postponed or cancelled as mass gatherings were prohibited and social distancing was imposed. ONE Championship, the Singapore-based martial arts promotion, has initially planned on continuing to hold events in Singapore behind closed doors starting April, but just days before the first event was supposed to take place, ONE ultimately decided to postpone the events as a result of Singapore going into a partial lockdown. While the events would have provided the fans something to look forward to and would have given athletes a chance to work and provide for their families, health, safety, and combatting the COVID-19 ultimately became the primary priority. Team Lakay stars shared their thoughts and are in full support of ONE Championship’s decision. “I totally agree with the decision, and I'm so proud to be a part of ONE Championship family,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao. “I feel so fortunate to belong to an organization that values life over profit.”   “I believe this is very reasonable as most countries are lockdown and the organization’s cooperation is necessary to make sure this COVID-19 pandemic will be eased,” said former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.   “I believe that ONE made the right move in postponing their events,” said former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon. “It shows that ONE cares about the safety of their crew, athletes and the fans.”   “ONE is the best. They really care for all the fighters and all people that organize the events behind the scenes,” said ONE featherweight contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly.   “I believe that it is a good decision,” said ONE Flyweight contender Danny "The King" Kingad. “It shows that they really think about the safety of the athletes and everyone who works with ONE.”   “I support ONE Championship postponing their closed-door events for now because even if it is a closed-door event,” said ONE Strawweight contender Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang. They may need fighters based outside of Singapore to participate, and with our situation that we can’t travel yet, I believe ONE did the right thing.”   “For me, I believe that it’s the wisest thing to do to make sure that the athletes are totally safe,” said former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario. “Remember, ‘What you cannot see, you cannot defeat’, the virus is so small that the eye cannot even see it.”   “I’m happy that I can say that ONE Championship is always looking out for the safety of us athletes, of the people in the company, and the fans,” shared ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.   “I trust ONE Championship and their decisions,” said former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio. “They are one of the best companies in the world, they aren’t selfish and they make sure that they promote good things for everybody. I believe that we will overcome this.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 20th, 2020Related News

Mother of Timberwolves Towns dies after virus battle

Jacqueline Towns, mother of Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, died Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) of complications of the coronavirus, the NBA team announced......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsApr 14th, 2020Related News

Ina ni Karl-Anthony Towns pumanaw sa COVID-19

Pumanaw na ang ina ni NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns dahil sa komplikasyon dulot ng COVID-19. Ayon sa statement na inilabas ng Minnesota Timberwolves, namatay si Jacqueline Towns nitong Lunes matapos ang mahigit na isang buwang pakikipaglaban sa coronavirus. “Jackie, as she was affectionately known among family and friends, had been battling the virus for more […] The post Ina ni Karl-Anthony Towns pumanaw sa COVID-19 appeared first on Bandera......»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: NewsApr 14th, 2020Related News

Chris Paul and Trae Young Headline First-Ever NBA HORSE Challenge

ESPN, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today announced that 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2020 NBA All-Star Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and newly elected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings headline the list of eight NBA and WNBA players and legends who will participate in the new NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm, exclusively on ESPN and streamed via the ESPN App.  Beginning Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET (Monday, April 13, 7 a.m. Philippine time), Paul, Young, Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce will match shots against one another in a single-elimination HORSE competition from their respective, isolated home courts. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones will serve as the official host. State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts. This donation builds on the more than $74 million that has been contributed by the NBA Family to date to support coronavirus relief efforts through its NBA Together campaign. NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants will be divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals.  The winner from each group will move on to the championship round.  ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. A coin toss at the start of each game will determine who shoots first, with the more senior player calling heads or tails.  Players must describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score they intend to make before taking a shot, such as a bank shot or swish. Dunking is prohibited. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated. NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm participants:   Group 1: Group 2: Chauncey Billups NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst Zach LaVine Chicago Bulls Tamika Catchings WNBA Legend Chris Paul Oklahoma City Thunder Mike Conley Jr. Utah Jazz Paul Pierce NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst Trae Young Atlanta Hawks Allie Quigley Chicago Sky   ESPN NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm schedule:   Date Time (ET) NBA HORSE Challenge Sun, Apr. 12 (Mon, Apr. 13 in the PHI) 7-9 p.m. (7-9 am) Quarterfinals Group 1: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups     Quarterfinals Group 1: Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.     Quarterfinals Group 2: Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce     Quarterfinals Group 2: Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley   9-11 p.m. Quarterfinals Encore Presentations Thu, Apr. 16 7-9 p.m. Quarterfinals Encore Presentations   9-11 p.m. Group 1: Semifinals     Group 2: Semifinals     HORSE Championship Game ESPN will televise the NBA HORSE Challenge as it continues its commitment to bring the sports community together through its #oneteam initiative.  .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 9th, 2020Related News

NBA to host lockdown H-O-R-S-E competition

Among those expected to participate are Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young and the Chicago Bulls swingman Zach LaVine......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsApr 9th, 2020Related News

Mark Sangiao expects same effort as other Team Lakay stars from son Jhanlo

With young guns like ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio, top ONE flyweight contender Danny “The King” Kingad, and top ONE strawweight contender Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang in the fold, it looks like Team Lakay is primed to continue to be a top-tier stable in the Philippines for years to come. While Pacio, Kingad, and Adiwang have already established themselves on the biggest martial arts stage in the world and are already stars in their own right, but the future of the Benguet-based mixed martial arts stable could ultimately lie within 17-year old son Jhanlo Sangiao, the son of Team Lakay’s founder and head coach, Mark Sangiao. MMA legend and ONE Warrior Series CEO Rich “Ace” Franklin has already spoken highly about the young Lakay, and being the son of one of the Philippines most respected MMA mentors already comes with a certain level of pressure. Coach Mark recalls the day Jhanlo first started taking a liking to the sport. “When he was 10 years old, he went to Canada to study. He came back in 2012. He joined me in Batang Pinoy’s wushu competitions, then from there he started training rigorously,” Sangiao shared via ONE Championship. “He was training with us. He was not getting tired when punching mitts. That’s when he really got interested.”  “I started training when I was 12 years old. I was young back then. I was like an extra,” Jhanlo also shared. “Just running around the corner, throwing a few punches here and there, until I finally joined their routine full time.” For dad-slash-head coach Mark however, he maintains that there is no shortcut to success. If Jhanlo wants to reach the same heights as his Team Lakay teammates, he also needs to put in the work. “As a coach, I always tell him that if he wants to reach something in this sport, then he has to work the same as his teammates. That’s what he is going through right now,” Coach Mark said. At a young age, Jhanlo has already shown flashes of brilliance, and it’s no surprise given that he trains with some of the best in the world on a daily basis. In the end however, Coach Mark says that it’s up to the younger Sangiao to commit to becoming a martial artist, like his father was before him. “It all depends on him if he really wants to do this,” Coach Mark said. “He has to do his assignments if he wants to reach the level that he aims to be at.” “My prayer is that he stays healthy and nothing bad happens to him in this sport,” Coach Mark added. If Jhanlo were to indeed follow in the footsteps of his dad and his Team Lakay manongs, Coach Mark knows where he wants his son to compete. “In ONE Championship, they treat their athletes right. That’s where I want my son to be if he decides to become a professional mixed martial artist,” he shared.  As for the young Sangiao himself, it seems clear that he knows what he wants to do and who ultimately became his inspiration to become a martial artist. “When I was a boy, I always watched my father compete in MMA until I thought to myself, ‘I want to compete as well,’” Jhanlo expressed. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsApr 8th, 2020Related News