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PH pride: World Cup champion France s goalkeeper is Filipino

PHOTO from Alphonse Areola's official Facebook page Two world-class Filipino athletes brought pride to the Philippines on July 15: Senator Manny Pacquiao who scored a knockout win to claim the.....»»

Category: newsSource: philippinetimes philippinetimesJul 16th, 2018

Boxing: Donnie Nietes, Aston Palicte face off ahead of world title bout

With roughly a month to go before fight night, Filipino contenders Donnie ‘Ahas’ Nietes and Aston ‘Mighty’ Palicte faced off for the first time ahead of their highly-anticipated all-Filipino title bout.  Hollywood face off. Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte join #Superfly3 presscon in LA. They fight for the vacant WBO World Title Sept 8 on @HBOboxing @360BoxingPromos @ALAPromotions1 @RoyJonesJrFA pic.twitter.com/2bmF5yQVME — Steve Angeles (@StevieAngeles) August 9, 2018 Nietes and Palicte are scheduled to fight for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight World Championship on the upcoming HBO and 360 Promotions-presented SuperFly 3 card at The Forum in Los Angeles, California this September 8th (September 9th, Manila time). Three-division world champion Nietes will be making his much-awaited debut in the super flyweight division. For the 36-year old Murcia, Negros Occidental native, who still holds the distinction for being the longest-reigning Filipino boxing world champion during his undisputed reign in the light flyweight division, his bout with Palicte serves as another opportunity to showcase his world-class talents to a much bigger audience. “Excited na excited kasi nabigyan ulit ako ng opportunity na makapag-laban dito sa SuperFly,” Nietes told ABS-CBN News’ Steve Angeles during the SuperFly 3 press conference in Hollywood, Wednesday evening. “This is a bug card, malaking tuwa ko na lalaban ako ulit dito sa US, ipapakita ko naman yung talent namin dito sa US." This will be Nietes’ second consecutive fight in the United States, coming off a successful IBF Flyweight World Championship defense against Juan Carlos Reveco at SuperFly 2 back in February, also at The Forum. While Nietes has long been a household name in the Philippines, many saw the ALA Promotions star’s dominant performance as a coming out party of sorts. This time, Nietes finds himself matched up agaisnt a fellow Filipino, who’s hungry for a world championship as well, in Palicte. Originally scheduled to be the headliner for a Pinoy Pride card in Cebu this August, 360 Promotions founder Tom Loeffler saw the opportunity to bring a pair of world-class Pinoy boxers on a much bigger stage. “When we had an opportunity in September 8th to put on a triple-header on HBO, I told peter Nelson of HBO that this is one of the best fights in the super flyweight division, for a WBO world championship and he agreed,” Loeffler said. “Donnie had a great performance in SuperFly 2. Aston now has the opportunity to fight for a world title at 115-pounds. I think it’s a tremendous matchup for these two great Filipino fighters.” Aside from the obvious prestige that comes with fighting for a world title, Palicte also has the opportunity to face off against not only a kababayan, but also someone he’s looked up. “Dati, bata pa ako, siya medyo matanda na sa akin, nakikita ko na sila, ina-idolize ko na sila. Hanggang ngayon, magkalaban na kami.” For the 27-year old Bago,Negros Occidental-native, it’s purely business. “Trabaho yan, part ng trabaho. Sa taas ng ring siguro iba, at pagkatapos ng laban, iba rin. Magkaibigan, pero wala eh, wala tayong magagawa, trabaho lang. Sports lang.” This will be the second all-Filipino world title fight this year, five months after reigning champion Jerwin Ancajas defended his IBF Super Flyweight World Championship against Nietes’ ALA Promotions stablemate Jonas Sultan. And while Nietes would rather not have to face a compatriot, like Palicte said, it’s simply business. “Filipino versus Filipino ang laban, so wala tayong magagawa dun kasi mandatory, so dapat maglaban. Ang sa amin lang, ipakita lang namin yung talento namin, yung galing namin atsaka yung magandang laban namin, ipakita namin sa mga tao, sa mga boxing fans dito sa US.”   H/T: Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

Ibrahimovic joins Ronaldo in skipping MLS All-Star Game

By Paul Newberry, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — The MLS All-Star Game will feature one of the world's most storied clubs. Unfortunately for the more than 70,000 fans expected at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Cristiano Ronaldo is not along for the ride. After Portugal's elimination from the World Cup and his transfer from Real Madrid, the five-time FIFA Player of the Year took time off rather than accompany Juventus on its American preseason tour, which includes Wednesday night's game against top players from Major League Soccer. The decision will surely be a disappointment to the big crowd that had hoped Ronaldo would make his unofficial debut while touring the United States with the Italian club that has won seven straight Serie A championships. Juventus acquired the 33-year-old from Real Madrid on July 10 in a deal his new club said was worth 112 million euros ($131.5 million) — the largest for a player older than 30 . Also sitting out the U.S. tour, which includes three other exhibitions, is Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain. He is coming off a scoreless World Cup in which he didn't start in the round of 16 loss to eventual champion France. "Obviously these guys are world-class players," said Atlanta United's Brad Guzan, a goalkeeper for the MLS team. "With or without them, it will be a difficult game. But their names alone bring a lot of attention. It's a shame for everybody on the outside. For me, personally, hopefully it makes for an easier night." Most players take three weeks off after the World Cup. Juventus opens its Serie A schedule at Chievo Verona the weekend of Aug. 18-20 . "We are sorry not to have the Ronaldo, and Higuain as well," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said through a translator. "Unfortunately, they played in the World Cup. They needed some days to rest." Ronaldo and Higuain won't be the only big names missing from the game. One of MLS' top new stars, LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, announced Monday that he's skipping the All-Star match rather than make a cross-country trip to Atlanta. The 36-year-old Swede cited the grind of playing three matches in an eight-day span, including Sunday night's 4-3 victory over Orlando City in which he scored his first MLS hat trick. Ibrahimovic ranks second in MLS with 15 goals. He played with Juventus from 2004-06. "I am disappointed to miss the 2018 All-Star game against Juventus, one of my former clubs," Ibrahimovic said in a statement. "I want to thank the fans for voting me to the team. My main focus is to score goals and help the LA Galaxy to the playoffs." The Galaxy (10-7-5) are unbeaten in nine games and have climbed to third place in the Western Conference. Per MLS rules, Ibrahimovic will also have to sit out LA's next match Saturday against Colorado, one of the league's worst teams. New York City forward David Villa also will skip the All-Star Game after missing six matches with a knee injury. Ibrahimovic and Villa were replaced on the MLS roster by Minnesota forward Darwin Quintero and New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams. Atlanta United coach Gerardo Martino, who will be guiding the MLS team, said the timing of the game does pose problems. "In reality, I recognize it's a little bit of a challenge for coaches who have players participating," Martino said through an interpreter. "Some players are coming from teams where they've played three games (in the last week). Some had a long trip to get here, like from Vancouver. I understand it's a very beautiful spectacle for the league and the United States. But I think what we have to look at in the future is to have it at a different time, either before or after the season. "We have to make sure the players arriving here in good condition are also returning to their teams in good condition." But MLS is eager to show off its most compelling success story. Atlanta shattered the MLS attendance record in its debut season, averaging 48,200 per game, and is on pace to break that mark this year at nearly 52,000 per game. The club already has the five biggest stand-alone crowds in MLS history — each more than 70,000 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The league expects another record crowd for its All-Star Game, breaking the mark of 70,728 in Houston for the 2010 match in which Manchester United defeated the MLS squad 5-2. An extra 1,500 tickets have been put on sale to meet the demand. "It's been fantastic to see the support that the city has given the club," Guzan said. "There's not many cities around the world that have what we have here in Atlanta. I'm happy to have the opportunity to showcase this to everyone.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2018

Goalkeeper Areola in a diverse French team

With 16 of the 23 players on its team coming from immigrant families, world champion France had one of the most diverse and multiethnic rosters in the recent World Cup. Alphonse Areola, born in Par.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018

ONE: Kevin Belingon targeting history against Martin Nguyen as well

If making history as the first three-division world champion in mixed martial arts is what Martin Nguyen is after in his highly-anticipated encounter against Kevin Belingon, the Filipino spitfire could likewise establish a new record for the Philippines in ONE Championship should he win over his Vietnamese-Australian foe. Both men are slated to face each other in the main event of ONE: REIGN OF KINGS, which takes place at the 20,000-seater SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines on July 27. ONE Championship has raised the stakes of the scheduled five-round clash between Belingon and Nguyen as the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Championship will be up for grabs. If Belingon succeeds in securing the gold-plated strap at the expense of Nguyen, the Philippines will set a record of most championship wins in the seven-year history of the promotion. “The main goal for Filipino martial arts athletes like me is to bring pride, honor and glory to our country. This match against Marin Nguyen on July 27 is another opportunity to hoist the Philippine flag aloft on the world stage of this beautiful sport,” he said. To date, there have been four Filipino world champions under the ONE Championship banner since 2013. Honorio Banario became the first Philippine-rooted competitor to notch a huge prize in ONE Championship when he defeated compatriot Eric Kelly by fourth-round stoppage for the inaugural ONE Featherweight World Championship in February 2013. It was followed by Brandon Vera, who crowned himself as the first ONE Heavyweight World Champion by knocking out Paul Cheng in 26 seconds with a high kick in December 2015. Meanwhile, Eduard Folayang pulled off a major upset victory over Japanese legend Shinya Aoki in November 2016 to capture the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Geje Eustaquio joined the list of Filipino world titleholders this past January, claiming the ONE Interim Flyweight World Championship with a split decision win over Kairat Akhmetov in a rematch before becoming the undisputed division kingpin in his second meeting with Adriano Moraes last June. With the ONE Interim Bantamweight World Title on the line, having his hand raised would symbolize so much to Belingon. Ever since losing to Bibiano Fernandes for the bantamweight crown in January 2016, Belingon has won five consecutive matches, routing the best contenders that the division has to offer. For Belingon, he could finally become a mixed martial arts world champion on July 27, which is the goal that he has been chasing ever since he launched his career in June 2007. “Becoming the champion has been my goal since my career started. It is a lifelong dream for me. I need to win my next bout to turn my dream into a reality,” he stated. “This is going to be a very exciting match. To take on an elite athlete like Martin, it will only be good for my experience. I look forward to testing my skills against him,” Belingon added. Sharing the cage with a dynamic knockout artist like Nguyen, Belingon asserted that he likes his chances versus the two-division world champion and shared his thoughts as to how things would play out at ONE: REIGN OF KINGS. “Martin has very good, high-level skills. His wrestling is very strong, and so is his boxing. He is aggressive, and he punches with power. There is no underestimating this guy,” he explained. “But I think his biggest weakness is his speed, especially in this fight. He is not faster than me. I think this will come down to who gets there first.” Although he is known for his explosive striking, massive knockout power, and fearlessness to engage, Belingon assured that he is prepared to go the distance with Nguyen. “I am training very hard to make sure I am well-equipped with everything I need to face any situation. If I have the opportunity to finish him, I will not hesitate to grab that chance. But I am prepared for this fight to go full five rounds as well,” he concluded......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 18th, 2018

The real deal with Alphonse Areola and how he can still switch to Azkals

A Filipino is a World Cup winner but not everyone is celebrating French reserve goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s chance to hold up the most coveted trophy in the football world. While he is receiving praise from Filipino shores some fans are doubting whether this is the right time for ‘pinoy pride.’ ‘Pinoy pride’ in the World […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

Fil-French keeper celebrates World Cup win

Filipinos joined the celebration of France’s triumph in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, taking pride in having a Filipino footballer, reserve goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, reap success with Les Bleus......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 17th, 2018

Vive la France! And a lot of other nations, too

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — Antoine Griezmann's father emigrated from Germany, and the France forward's mother is of Portuguese decent. Paul Pogba's parents arrived from Guinea. Kylian Mbappe's dad is from Cameroon, his mom Algerian. Immigrants, sons of immigrants and grandsons of immigrants bonded together with scions of families that have been French for generations, all for the rouge, blanc et bleu. And for only the second time, France is the World Cup champion. About two-thirds of Les Bleus' roster included players with immigrant backgrounds, a mini-United Nations of soccer talent. "That is the France that we love," Griezmann said through a translator after Sunday's 4-2 victory over Croatia ended the most exciting World Cup final in decades. "It's beautiful to see it." Griezmann's free kick was headed in by Mario Manduzkic for the opening own-goal in the 18th minute, and then he converted a penalty kick for a 2-1 lead in the 38th after video review spotted a handball by Ivan Perisic. Mbappe's speed led to the third goal in the 59th . He added a goal of his own in the 65th , at 19 becoming the second-youngest scorer in a World Cup final behind 17-year-old Pele in 1958. Vive la diversite! A day after Bastille Day, the party was on. "The diversity of the squad is in the image of this beautiful country that is France," midfielder Blaise Matuidi, whose parents are from Angola and Congo, said through a translator ahead of the match. France won on a humid night in Russia, with thunderclaps during play and a downpour during the trophy presentation. Quite different from that indelible summer evening at Stade de France in 1998, when fans in the arena and throughout Paris sang "La Marseillaise" until dawn and young teenagers drove cars while their intoxicated parents sat in passenger seats. People called that team "Black, Blanc, Beur," noting how white, black and North African players came together. Zinedine Zidane, a son of Algerians, headed in a pair of first-half corner kicks against heavily favored Brazil. Patrick Vieira, born in Senegal, fed Normand-born Emmanuel Petit for the third in the 3-0 win. This year's team was perhaps even more diverse. Defender Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon and backup goalkeeper Steve Mandanda in Zaire. Others descended from Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Mococco and Senegal, plus Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. "There may be players who come from different origins, but we do have the same state of mind," Griezmann said. "We all play for the same jersey, the cockerel. For our country, we give everything we have. As soon as you wear the jersey, we do everything for each other." He scored the go-ahead goal after the first video review-created penalty kick in a World Cup final. During a delay of about four minutes that might have unnerved less-composed players. Griezmann told himself to pretend it was a league match. "Carry on and do the same thing as I normally do," he remembered thinking. At 27, he in his prime but in the penumbra of Spanish soccer at Atletico Madrid, toiling in a league that Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate. He led the 2016 European Championship with six goals and tied for second with four at the World Cup, three on penalty kicks, earning the Bronze Ball as third-best player behind Croatia midfielder Luka Modric and Belgium forward Eden Hazard. Griezmann kissed the trophy, knowing his generation will be revered in the same way Zidane, Petit, Thierry Henry, Lilian Thuram and Fabien Barthez remain renowned from Calais to Cannes. "From tonight on, I'm sorry for them, but they are going to be different," coach Didier Deschamps said. "Those 23 players will be linked forever, forever. Whatever happens — they might follow different paths, but they will be marked forever and they will be together thanks to this event." Griezmann, man of the match in a World Cup final, will be on posters throughout the republic, asked for endorsements, a mainstay of commercials. He will asked for autographs for the rest of his life. "I'm going to be in the history of French football with my team," Griezmann said. "We don't quite realize it yet. Our children will very proud to have our names.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 16th, 2018

Filipino Tepora stops Mexican foe to claim featherweight world crown

MANILA, Philippines – Jhack Tepora adds to the growing list of Filipino boxing champions after claiming the World Boxing Association (WBA) interim featherweight belt.  The pride of Cebu City dethroned former champion Edivaldo Ortega of Mexico with a 9th-round technical knockout at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 15th, 2018

Belgium eliminates Brazil from World Cup, wins 2-1

By ROB HARRIS,  AP Global Soccer Writer KAZAN, Russia (AP) — Belgium reached the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 32 years by holding off five-time champion Brazil 2-1 Friday, sending Neymar home without living up to the expectations of being soccer's most expensive player. Kevin De Bruyne put Belgium up 2-0 by completing a counterattack led by Romelu Lukaku in the 31st minute. The opener came after a bit of good fortune. Fernandinho's trailing arm inadvertently helped Belgium captain Vincent Kompany's header land in his own net in the 13th. As Belgium lost cohesiveness in the second half and Brazil's changes stirred the team, substitute Renato Augusto reduced the deficit with a header in the 76th. But it was too late for Brazil to muster an equalizer as efforts to force the game into extra time were thwarted by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Belgium will face France in the semifinals on Tuesday in St. Petersburg......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2018

Why Pinoys cheer for France

If there’s a FIFA World Cup team that most Filipino fans are cheering for, it has to be France. That’s because there’s a Filipino connection in Les Bleus with goalkeeper Alphonse Areola......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 4th, 2018

Coach Boyet proud of Gilas ‘last man standing’ Baser Amer

NCAA Seniors and Juniors champion, NCAA Finals MVP, PBA D-League champion, PBA All-Star, PBA Finals runner-up – Baser Amer has won for himself many, many titles. Last Sunday, he was given another one – last man standing. Amer was the only Gilas Pilipinas player on the floor as they defaulted their FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers matchup to visiting Australia. Just moments before, the now infamous free-for-all broke out, ejecting nine Filipinos and leaving Amer, June Mar Fajardo, and Gabe Norwood as the only players at the disposal of head coach Chot Reyes. Amer did not play a single second before that, but was thrust into action when play resumed with the three Philippine players going up against five Australians. He did not play for long, however, as Fajardo and Norwood were instructed to foul out so that the game could be put to an end with Gilas losing by default. And so, at the end of the game, Amer was the only Gilas Pilipinas player on the court. That wasn’t much different from when he was the only Filipino left on the bench as it cleared during the free-for-all. For Boyet Fernandez, Amer’s mentor in San Beda University in 2013, that was just his former ward staying true to his self. “Happy ako sa kanya kasi at least, hindi pa rin nawawala sa kanya yung ugali niyang mabait and hindi sumasali sa kung ano-ano man,” he said. That the former Red Lion was the last man standing on the Gilas bench and then on the floor at the end of the game was nothing but a source of pride for his former mentor as well as his alma mater. “Nakita ko siya na last man standing. I’m happy and proud of him, lahat kami sa San Beda,” Fernandez said. He then continued, “Ever since na-handle ko siya, maganda na naman talaga yung attitude ng bata. Happy ako sa kanya.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 4th, 2018

Belgium, team of tomorrow, hopes to finally win now

By Ronald Blum, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — Belgium is the team of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. De Rode Duivels, as the Red Devils are known, have been playing for 114 years and remain in search of their first major title. A polyglot known for waffles, chocolate and beer, the nation of 11 million hopes for soccer to join the national identity, boosted by a golden generation that includes Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bryune. Belief is growing. Philippe, King of the Belgians, was on hand wearing a bright red tie and team scarf. "Belgium is a small country, you know? So we're very happy that we have this kind of talent," defender Toby Alderweireld said after Saturday's 5-2 rout of Tunisia all but clinched a round-of-16 World Cup berth. "Hopefully we can do something special." Lukaku tied Cristiano Ronaldo for the tournament lead with four goals, becoming the first with consecutive two-goal games in the World Cup since Diego Maradona and Gary Lineker in 1986. Hazard also scored twice , and Michy Batshuayi added a 90th-minute goal after failing to convert a trio of prime chances. Belgium opened with a 3-0 victory over Panama and has an 8-2 goal difference. Ranked third in the world behind defending champion Germany and Brazil, the Red Devils have become a chic choice to join the exclusive club of eight World Cup winners: Brazil (five), Germany and Italy (four), Argentina and Uruguay (two), and England, France and Spain (one). "Belgium was not the favorite because of the history of the country — and especially the history of the other countries," said former Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, now a Fox analyst. "They're growing. Also, they're playing with important team spirit. So for me, it's not really a big surprise what they're doing at the moment." Training is conducted in English under Spanish coach Roberto Martinez, who spent a decade managing in England. Postgame interviews sound like a corridor at European Union headquarters in Brussels, with players alternating among English, French, Dutch and Spanish. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has picked up a Scouse accent after five seasons with Liverpool. Seventeen of the 23 players were on Champions League clubs last season, a glamorous group that includes Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. "That gives them the confidence and the experience to play at the highest level. That is what a World Cup is about," Mignolet said. "For us, it's now the third tournament in a row where we play, which gives you the experience, so nobody's really fussed about the occasion anymore. Maybe the two tournaments were a bit different where we arrived and we were thinking about what was going to happen. Everything was new." After completing the group stage against England on Thursday, Belgium would face Colombia, Poland, Senegal or Japan in the second round, and then could have a possible quarterfinal against Germany, Brazil or Mexico. Since losing their first match under Martinez to Spain two years ago, Belgium is unbeaten in 21 games (16 wins) and has outscored opponents 72-17 during the run. But while outscoring Panama and Tunisia by 8-2, the defense and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois looked like they could be exploited by better opposition. "Today what I saw is a team that it was prepared to suffer, prepared to work for each other, and we look well-balanced in that respect," Martinez said. "So when you've got that, then the individuals can show their talent." Lukaku has 15 goals in his last 10 international matches but left in the 59th minute after injuring an ankle ligament. Hazard came off nine minutes later with a calf problem, and forward Dries Mertens came out in the 86th after an ankle issue. Belgium came closest to a title at the 1980 European Championship, losing 2-1 to a German team that got a pair of goals from Horst Hrubesch. It has reached semifinals twice at major events, losing 2-1 to West Germany at the 1972 Euros and to Maradona's Argentina at the 1986 World Cup. After missing two straight World Cups, the Red Devils returned four years ago, beat the U.S. in extra time in the round of 16, then lost to Argentina in the quarters. At the 2016 Euros, they wasted an early lead in a 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Wales. Given the past and the sound and fury that would follow any misstep, Martinez wants to manage expectations. "To be a favorite in a World Cup, you need to have the know-how of winning a World Cup," he said. "The World Cup is something that probably gives you an advantage psychologically when you've won it before.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 24th, 2018

Mexico beats defending champion Germany 1-0 at World Cup

By JAMES ELLINGWORTH,  AP Sports Writer MOSCOW (AP) — Germany became the third defending champion in the last 16 years to lose its opening match at the World Cup, falling to Mexico 1-0 Sunday. Hirving Lozano scored the lone goal in the 35th minute, picking up Javier Hernandez's pass inside the penalty area and beating Mesut Ozil before shooting past Manuel Neuer from 10 yards. France in 2002 and Spain in 2014 were the other defending champions to lose their opening matches. After Lozano's goal, Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa pulled off a spectacular save to keep the score even, palming Toni Kroos' shot onto the crossbar. Mexico pulled back into a more defensive formation midway through the second half as players tired and Germany attacked. The Germans are bidding to become the first team to retain the World Cup title since Brazil in 1962......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 17th, 2018

2018 World Cup has Pinoy flavor with France GK Alphonse Areola

At 25 years old, Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is already a folk hero of sorts, especially to fans of the France U-20 team, but a missed opportunity for Philippine football. The French keeper, whose parents are both of Filipino descent, was the hero in Les Bleus' magical run to the title at the U-20 World Cup back in 2013. Areola made pressure-packed stops in the penalty shootout against Uruguay to help France hoist its first-ever U-20 championship. As far back as 2011, Dan Palami had already asked the 6'5" keeper to consider suiting up for the Azkals. Seven years later, Areola is now a decorated member of the French national youth squad, and is poised to make his mark in the biggest stage of international football. Areola will be backstopping French shotstoppers like Tottenham's Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda of Olympique Marseille as Les Bleus looks to capture its first World Cup title in 20 years.       You can catch Alphonse and the rest of Les Bleus on ABS-CBN S+A, and LIGA at the 2018 FIFA World Cup LIVE from Russia starting June 14. Here's the complete schedule......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2018

2018 WORLD CUP: Nigeria calm under Rohr for now

By Gerald Imray, Associated Press Gernot Rohr has restored stability to Nigeria heading into the World Cup. The German brought a sense of calm to a team that went through five coaches in two years following the 2014 tournament in Brazil. Africa's most populous nation flew through qualifying and was the first team to qualify from the region, seeing off continental champion Cameroon. Nigeria then showcased its qualities by winning a friendly last year against Argentina — its final Group D opponent. Nigeria has an array of attacking options that includes Premier League talent in Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa. The challenge is to ensure the defense is similarly strong and the squad doesn't get sidetracked by off-the-field issues that have undermined previous campaigns at major tournaments. At the 2014 World Cup, it was a disagreement over player payment that almost caused the team to go out on strike ahead of the last 16 game against France, which Nigeria lost. Rohr will be hoping there's no repeat. Here's a closer look at the Nigeria team: COACH Rohr hasn't had a high-profile career, coaching Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso before taking on one of Africa's most demanding football jobs. Rohr has set out to experiment with various formations in an effort to make the team more tactically aware and versatile, and able to compete with the best in the world like Argentina. Nigeria has lost just twice since Rohr took over in August 2016. GOALKEEPERS This area has been an issue for Nigeria ever since regular No. 1 Carl Ikeme revealed last year that he had been diagnosed with leukemia. Rohr made Ikechukwu Ezenwa, one of the few Nigeria-based players in the squad, the new first-choice goalkeeper for the remainder of the World Cup qualifying campaign. But there may be a surprise in goal in Russia, with Rohr recently talking up 19-year-old prospect Francis Uzoho, who last year became the youngest foreign goalkeeper in La Liga when he made his debut for Deportivo La Coruna at 18. The 6-foot-5 teenager is definitely a talent. DEFENDERS Leon Balogun, born in Germany, and William Troost-Ekong, born in Netherlands, are the preferred central defensive partnership. Either side of them, places are up for grabs. Elderson Echiejile appears to be the first option at left back and Shehu Abdullahi at right back. But there are other contenders for starting places. One of the most intriguing is left back Brian Idowu, who was born in St. Petersburg to Nigerian parents and has lived his whole life and spent his entire career in Russia. MIDFIELDERS Captain John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi are the rocks of the team in central midfield and their diligence allows Nigeria to play three and sometimes four players in advanced positions. The 21-year-old Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester also has a growing reputation. FORWARDS Victor Moses' recent resurgence means Rohr expects the Chelsea forward to lead Nigeria's attack, which promises to be a handful for opponents. Alongside Moses, Musa and Alex Iwobi could be the other starting forwards if Rohr continues with a formation that gives him two men playing either side of central striker Musa. But the competition for places in Nigeria's attack is fierce. There's also Iheanacho, Moses Simon and China-based striker Odion Ighalo. GROUP GAMES Nigeria's opening game is against Croatia on June 16, it then plays Iceland on June 22 before the big one to finish its Group D campaign, against Lionel Messi and Argentina in St. Petersburg on June 26......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 28th, 2018

Donaire s career-defining fight vs Frampton live on SKY Sports PPV

Former world boxing champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. fights for another world title when he goes head to head against Irishman Carl “The Jackal” Frampton for the interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) Featherweight division title, in the Irishman’s own backyard at the SSE Arena in Belfast, United Kingdom. The fight will air live on SKY Sports Pay-Per-View on April 22 at 2:30 AM, with same day replays at 6 AM, 9:30 AM, 4 PM, and 7:30 PM.   Boxing analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino said that this fight is make-or-break for Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs), who hails from Bohol. “Donaire is walking a tight rope. He is at the crossroads opposite Frampton in this fight. This could be the swan song if he loses,” he said. Despite being the underdog of the match there is still much to look forward to from the former five-time world champion. “Even as he gets older, Donaire is still extremely dangerous because of his one-punch power and excellent counterpunching skill,” added Tolentino of the 2012 Fighter of the Year of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). On the other hand, the 31-year old Frampton (24-1, 14 KOs), fondly called “The Jackal,” is a former world junior featherweight and featherweight champion, and holds a hometown advantage over the Filipino slugger. “Frampton is a great athletic boxer with fast hand and packs serious power in his punches,” Tolentino said of the Irish fighter, who, like his foe was also touted as Fighter of the Year by the BWAA and The Ring magazine in 2016. The analyst believes that if Donaire prevails over Frampton, he will be guaranteed at one last shot for glory against the reigning WBO champion Oscar Valdez from Mexico once the lynchpin heals from a broken jaw and resumes his reign. SKY PPV subscribers may also watch these bonus content with their subscription: Donaire vs. Prado in Pinoy Pride 30, Donaire vs. Bedak, and “Flash Forward,” a documentary on the Pinoy fighter. Watch the match live, commercial-free on SKY Sports PPV for P199 on channels 159 (SD) and 259 (HD) for Mega Manila, channels 59 (SD) and 959 (HD) for select provincial areas, channel 42 (HD) for SKYdirect and via SKY On Demand. Visit mysky.com.ph/boxingppv for details. Subscribers who are also Kapamilya Thank You members may earn Kapamilya Thank You points when they avail of these PPV offerings. Kapamilya Thank You points may be used to get bill rebates, pay for pay-per-view offers, buy tickets to Kapamilya events, and more.  In addition, SKY has also made it easier for subscribers to pay their bills online.  More information is available via www.mysky.com.ph. The fight will also air on ABS-CBN S+A on April 22 at 6:30 pm. For updates, follow @abscbnpr on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 18th, 2018

Chelsea looks for another good showing at Camp Nou

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Few teams have caused as much trouble for Barcelona as Chelsea since Lionel Messi started playing with the Spanish club almost 15 years ago. Barcelona has been dominant with Messi against nearly every opponent it has faced in Europe. But not against Chelsea. The English club is even used to doing well against Barcelona at Camp Nou Stadium, where the teams will meet Wednesday in the second leg of their last-16 series in the Champions League. Chelsea is unbeaten against Barcelona in eight matches, with four straight draws at Camp Nou. Barcelona earned a 1-1 draw in the first match in England thanks to a late away goal by Messi, who had never scored against the Premier League club. "It will be a hard match just like in the away leg," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "They have a strong team that defends well in a block and has a great counterattack. We will struggle." Barcelona has been thriving again this season. Its only loss came against Real Madrid in its first match of the season in the Spanish Super Cup final. It has won 18 of its last 20 home matches since then, with two draws — 2-2 against Celta Vigo and 0-0 against Getafe in the Spanish league. "We have to show great resilience," Chelsea coach Antonio Conte said. "We are playing against one of the best teams in the world. We must pay great attention and have the same focus and concentration of the first leg." This is the first time Chelsea and Barcelona are facing each other in the Champions League since the semifinals in 2012, when the English club advanced 3-2 on aggregate after securing an astonishing 2-2 draw in the second leg at Camp Nou, after trailing 2-0 with 10 men for most of the match. Chelsea also drew at Camp Nou in the Champions League semifinals in 2009, as well as in the group stage of the 2006-07 season and the round of 16 a year earlier. Chelsea is trying to make the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014, when eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the semis. Barcelona is looking to reach the last eight for a record 11th straight time. The Spanish league leaders are coming off a 2-0 win at last-place Malaga on Saturday, when Messi didn't play because of the birth of his third son, Ciro. It remains unclear if Valverde will be able to count on midfielder Andres Iniesta on Wednesday because of a hamstring injury. Here's a look at the other matches this week: ___ MAN UNITED-SEVILLA Jose Mourinho may be faced with a dilemma when Manchester United hosts Sevilla on Tuesday. With Paul Pogba ruled out of United's Premier League victory over Liverpool on Saturday, Mourinho's side finally managed to find the balance it has been lacking in recent weeks. If the France midfielder is available, Mourinho would have to drop Juan Mata or 21-year-old Scott McTominay to make room for him. United, which drew the first leg 0-0 in Seville, is trying to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013-14. "The next game is very important for us, maybe the most important game of the season," United midfielder Nemanja Matic said. Sevilla is trying to make the quarterfinals for the first time. ___ ROMA-SHAKHTAR Roma will be hoping it has turned its poor home form around when it hosts Shakhtar Donetsk needing to overturn a 2-1 defeat. Roma beat Torino 3-0 on Friday for what was only its second win at Stadio Olimpico since mid-December. "Mentally, the lads felt a bit of pressure because we hadn't won at the Olimpico for a while — and I could see that," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. "Today's win shows that we've cleared the hurdle now." ___ BESIKTAS-BAYERN Besiktas is dreaming of becoming the first team to overturn a five-goal deficit in the UEFA competition when it hosts Bayern Munich on Wednesday, although restoring its pride will likely be enough after a chastening 5-0 first-leg defeat in Munich. The Turkish champion, playing in the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time, is hoping to extend its 12-game unbeaten run at home in European competitions. Bayern has made it to the Champions League quarterfinals six years in a row, but hasn't won the title since coach Jupp Heynckes' previous stint in 2013, when he led the side to a treble. It warmed up for its trip to Istanbul with a 6-0 rout of Hamburger SV on Saturday. "You can never hide in football, you can never take it easy," said Heynckes, who has 25 wins and just one defeat in 27 games across all competitions since returning to Bayern. ___ Associated Press writers Ciaran Fahey, Daniella Matar and Sam Johnston contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 12th, 2018

Magsayo keeps int’l feather crown

Mark Magsayo passed the test, but not with magnificent scores. The unbeaten Filipino hope dubbed "Magnifico" went through the full route to beat Japanese Shota Hayashi by unanimous decision Saturday night to retain his World Boxing Organization international featherweight title at Bohol Wisdom School gym in Tagbilaran City. Though he was unable to deck the former world champion, Magsayo did enough to earn the nod of the three judges by similar 116-112 scores in the headliner of Pinoy Pride 43 at his hometown. The 22-year-old Magsayo extended his winning run to 18 with 13 knockouts and stayed on course to earning a crack at a world crown next year. Hayashi suffered his seventh...Keep on reading: Magsayo keeps int’l feather crown.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 26th, 2017

Pinoy boxer Jerwin Ancajas gears up for third defense of IBF Super Flyweight title

Reigning IBF Super Flyweight world champion Jerwin 'Pretty Boy' Ancajas looks to defend his title for a third time this weekend when he takes on unbeaten Irishman Jamie Conlan at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday, November 18th.  The first world champion to come out of Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions banner, Davao Del Norte's Ancajas has emerged as one of the best young boxers in the country.  With just one defeat in his 28 professional fights, Ancajas is riding a 14-fight winning streak, which includes a title win over McJoe Arroyo in 2016. Earlier this year, Ancajas introduced himself to an even bigger audience after stopping Japan's Teiru Kinoshita via a seventh-round TKO in the co-main event of the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn card in Brisbane.  Up next for Ancajas will be 19-0 Conlan.  The 31-year old Belfast native will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd as he goes for his first attempt at a world championship.  An interested observer of this matchup will be ALA Boxing's Jonas Sultan, who's widely regarded as the number one contender for the IBF Super Flyweight crown after outpointing former two-division world champion John Riel Casimero at Pinoy Pride 42 in Cebu earlier this year.  Should Ancajas successfully defend his crown, we could be in for a historic All-Filipino world championship matchup in the future. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

Young Jonas Sultan excited for world title shot, not taking champion Ancajas lightly

Heading into his world title eliminator bout against former two-division world champion John Riel Casimero at Pinoy Pride 42 in Cebu, it would seem as though the odds were stacked against young ALA Boxing rising star Jonas Sultan.  At just 13-3 in his young career, the 25-year old was facing a more experienced, more seasoned fighter in Casimero, who was coming in at 24-2.  Prior to moving up to super-flyweight, Casimero ruled the IBF's flyweight division.  On fight night however, Sultan stepped up to the challenge and appeared to be a step ahead of Casimero throughout the fight, eventually earning a unanimous decision nod and snapping Casimero's three-fight winning streak.  More importantly, it gives Sultan a shot at the IBF super-flyweight world championship, currently held by Jerwin Ancajas, the lone world champion under Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions.  Sultan admits that his win over Casimero however, was no walk in the park.  'Sobrang saya ko kasi nanalo ako sa laban namin ni Casimero. Mahirap siyang kalabanin, malakas pa din.' Sultan told ABS-CBN Sports.  The reigning IBF Inter-Continental super-flyweight champion is fully aware of what's next.  'Nung nanalo ako, sabi ko world championship na sunod.' The Zamboanga del Norte native knows that opportunities like this don't come around too often, especially for someone who's only 17 fights into his career.  'Excited na ako, kasi bihira lang yung ganun, yung medyo bago-bago ka pa lang, pero may laban ka na para sa world championship, pero para sa akin, talagang lalaban ako.' It's a hefty challenge for someone who hasn't even headlined a Pinoy Pride card in his career.  With a world title opportunity however, this could be his chance to do so.  'Yun yung pangarap ko,' Sultan said of the opportunity.  And while the kid is on Cloud 9 right now, he hasn't lost sight of the fact that reigning champ Ancajas is a different beast.  Boasting a 27-1 professional record, Ancajas has successfully defended the IBF super-flyweight crown twice, both by stoppage.  'Dapat titindihan ko pa yung training ko, kasi si Jerwin Ancajas, yung mga nakakalaban niya malalakas.' No date has been set yet for the historic All-Filipino world title bout. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2017