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Blazers in familiar territory but with 2 new additions

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers find themselves in much the same position as last season heading into the post-All-Star break stretch run. They’re coming off a confidence-boosting win over Golden State. One thing is new this year, however. The Blazers made a couple of key moves before the break to shore up their bench and to help propel them into the playoffs. Portland resumes its season Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at the Brooklyn Nets, the first of a grueling seven-game road swing. The game will likely mark the Blazers debut of Enes Kanter, signed just before the break. Kanter was waived by the Knicks following the trade deadline. He was once a starter in New York but he fell out of the rotation when the team turned its focus to younger players. The center from Turkey averaged 14 points and 10.8 rebounds in 115 games over two seasons. “As far as the rotation, that should be pretty seamless. He’ll get the backup five minutes,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “He’s a proven NBA player. He can score, he can rebound. He’s played in big games. So it shouldn’t be too difficult.” Kanter will join a second unit that, as it stands, includes Jake Layman, Seth Curry, Evan Turner and another newcomer, Rodney Hood. Acquired at the trade deadline in a deal with Cleveland, Hood has played in four games with the Blazers, averaging 9.72 points a game. The moves give Portland better depth as the team heads into the critical part of the season. The Blazers are 34-23 and in fourth place in the Western Conference. They’re seven games back of first-place Golden State, the team they bested by 22 points last week. “To go into the All-Star break and be confident knowing that we beat one of the best teams, if not the best team in the NBA, it’s huge for us,” forward Zach Collins said. There are still 25 games left, but for the past two years the Blazers have mounted post-break rallies. Last year at this time, Portland was 32-26, sitting in sixth place in the West, and also coming off a victory over the Warriors. The win touched off a 13-game winning streak that helped the team secure the West’s third seed for a fifth straight playoff appearance. The team’s streak matched the franchise record. The previous season, Portland lost three straight games to go into the break at 23-33, and an overtime loss at Detroit shortly thereafter put the Blazers 11 games under .500. But Portland caught fire from there and went 13-3 in March. Damian Lillard was named the conference’s Player of the Month, averaging 29.1 points in 16 games, and Stotts was named Coach of the Month. Following the latest victory over the Warriors, Lillard said he was happy with the team’s position heading into the remainder of the season, even if they let a few slip away. “I like it, I think it’s better than it has been in the past going into the break,” he said, referring to the team’s current record. “A big win going into the break. So that’s a positive, but obviously for us we look back at the opportunities we let slip away. The Dallas game, the Miami game at home. ... But all things considered, I think we all like where we are.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports9 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

UAAP: FEU vets need to step up to help rookies -- Pascua

FEU Lady Tamaraws head coach George Pascua stressed character for his veterans as the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball wars heat up. Rookie Lycha Ebon led the charge once again for FEU, while some key veterans underwhelmed in their efforts during a 18-25, 25-20, 22-25, 20-25 loss to the UP Lady Maroons. Pascua emphasized the need for his older players to step up and help the rookies in their transition to the collegiate stage. "Dapat sila 'yung mag-lead. 'Yung leadership not only sa words, even sa action kailangan ipakita nila. Kailangan sila mismong mga ates ang maging good example sa mga rookies," Pascua explained.  "Kasi gaganahan pa 'yung mga rookies kapag nakita na ganoon 'yung ates nila," he added. Pascua also was kind of worried that the young guns were carrying the scoring load for the squad, but is confident that they can jell as they have 12 games left in the eliminations. Talking more about the loss, the mentor urged his players to take a look at themselves in order to be better in the coming games after committing 34 errors while letting their opponents score 14 service aces. As they face the Ateneo Lady Eagles in San Juan on Sunday, he hopes that they could find an answer to their lingering problems.  "Hindi naman ganoong kadali baguhin [ang character]. Ang nangyari sa amin individual errors. Ibig sabihin may mga bagay na 'di namin kontrolado ng mga coaches," Pascua mentioned.  "Ang execution is nasa players. Ang sabi ko nga sa kanila, umpisahan muna sa sarili nila; kung ano ba 'yung intention nila, kung ano ba 'yung goal nila." __ Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: Sports22 hr. 31 min. ago Related News

Liverpool, Bayern draw 0-0 in Champions League first leg

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Bayern Munich still can't find a way to score at Liverpool, drawing 0-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday to go a fourth game without netting at Anfield across 48 years. By denying Bayern an away goal, Liverpool has a slight edge heading into the second leg of the round of 16 knowing it would advance with a scoring draw. Liverpool had a scare in the 13th minute when Joe Matip unwittingly diverted Serge Gnabry's cross goalward from close-range and the ball bounced off goalkeeper Alisson Becker to safety. Bayern winger Kingsley Coman then sent a shot into the side-netting three minutes later. Liverpool squandered chances when Mohamed Salah headed wide from Trent Alexander-Arnold's delivery and Sadio Mane shot wide on the turn. Mane also miscued an attempted overhead kick in front of the Bayern goal and Matip sent the ball wide from Roberto Firmino's cutback before halftime. In a strong defensive display by Liverpool, makeshift center back Fabinho made a well-timed tackle on Robert Lewandowski in the six-yard box. Gnabry sent a shot fizzing over the bar from outside the box in the 59th but Bayern struggled to test Alisson. Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer preserved the clean sheet in the 85th by tipping Mane's diving header tipped around the post. On a quiet night in the competition, the other game between Lyon and Barcelona was also scoreless......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 20th, 2019Related News

Column: Spieth keeping patience amid worst slump of career

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press MEXICO CITY (AP) — For a brief moment, Jordan Spieth had reason to believe he finally caught a good break with a bad shot. He was trying to hit a hard, low draw on the fifth hole of the final round at Riviera into a strong wind and a light rain. Instead, it caught the heel of his 3-wood and spun out to the right, smacked off a tree and went further back next to a fence, just beyond a white out-of-bounds stake. Good news: The rules official said the stake was left there by accident. "He said, 'That's not supposed to be there.' He literally picked up the white stake and said, 'This isn't ours,'" Spieth said. "So I got it out." Bad news? "I still made triple," he said with a laugh. Spieth can still find humor amid the worst slump of his career, or what amounts to a slump for a 25-year-old who already has 14 victories worldwide, including three legs of the career Grand Slam. He picked up his third major in the 2017 British Open when he his tee shot caromed off a spectator's head and into the dunes right of the 13th fairway at Royal Birkdale. He hit 3-wood after a penalty drop on the driving range, somehow escaped with bogey, and then went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to win. That was 37 tournaments ago, and it's starting to feel even longer. Coming off the first winless year of his pro career, Spieth made a last-minute decision to play the Sony Open in Hawaii to shake off the rust from a busy offseason that included getting married. He missed the cut. Since then, he has opened with rounds of 65 at Torrey Pines, 66 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and 64 at Riviera. He has yet to break par on the weekend. His best result was a tie for 35th at Torrey. The weekends have been an issue, and Spieth said as much after he finished his first round at Riviera. "I got off to good starts my last couple events and I need to continue to work hard to improve each day here instead of getting complacent and assuming my game is there," he said. "It's still not quite there tee-to-green." Two days later, he went into the final round in a tie for fourth, eight shots behind Justin Thomas. He shot 81. That triple bogey on No. 5 was only part of his troubles. Just as the rain began, Spieth fanned a 4-iron on the second hole that sailed so far right that it went into the bushes high on the hill. He had to take a penalty drop and made double bogey. After the triple bogey on No. 5, his round really came unglued on the par-4 10th. He made a quadruple-bogey 8, with five of those shots from the sand. One went over the green into a plugged like near the back lip. He popped that into the middle of the sand, and his fourth shot caught too much sand and plugged under the lip. The fifth was to get back into the bottom of the bunker — plugged again — and he got that one out and two-putted for 8. The 81 matched his highest score to par, though it wasn't all that jolting to sign his name beneath that number on his card. "Not when you're 10 over after 10 and have the hardest holes to play," he said. "I thought I played pretty well after that." The game is progressing. The results — the ultimate measure in golf — are still a work in progress. It's one thing that Spieth is at No. 24 in the world after starting 2018 at No. 2. It's another to realize he has played six tournaments this season and is No. 175 in the FedEx Cup standings. Perhaps most startling is how infrequently he's even had a chance to win. In the last year, Spieth has only had three tournaments where he started the final round within five shots of the lead or closer. The most recent was at the TPC Boston, where he shot 70 and tied for 12th. It has proven to be a long road back from a year in which he struggled with his putter, and when that came around, his swing got out of sorts. Riviera was his 11th straight time out of the top 10, his longest such streak since he started in 2013. Is his patience being tested? "I don't think so," he said. "It's something that comes with what I'm working on." He said at the start of the year he felt no pressure to get his game turned around quickly. He was more concerned last year when something was off in his game and he wasn't quite sure what it was. "That's not an easy feeling," he said. For five years, he did a lot right without really knowing why. And when it stopped, he had to figure it out. Spieth pays little attention to any form of media, social or otherwise, and would prefer to keep it that way. He shared as much in Hawaii when he said, "I know what's wrong with Jordan Spieth, and I know what's right with Jordan Spieth. I know how to get where I want to go with my golf game and have fun doing it.".....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 20th, 2019Related News

UAAP Season 81: Blue Eagles, Tams eye back-to-back wins

Opening day winners Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University look to keep their hold of the early lead as they take on separate foes in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Blue Eagles will march first inside the court against University of Sto. Tomas at 8:00 a.m. before the Tamaraws’ 10:00 a.m. meeting with University of the Philippines. Both games will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream. After skipping last year’s action, Season 79 Finals MVP Tony Koyfman announced his return by pouring 15 points in Ateneo’s 25-23, 25-22, 25-15, rout of De La Salle University on Sunday. The victory gave the Blue Eagles a morale boost in as they face the post-Marck Espejo era under new coach Timmy Sto. Tomas. “(The win) is a morale-booster for the team especially with people saying, ‘na since wala na si Marck (Espejo), wala na si Ish (Polvorosa) paano na. How will score? How will you get points?’ Eventually, ngayon I was able to instill to them that this time it will be a collective effort,” said Sto. Tomas. The Tigers, on the other hand, absorbed a sorry 31-33, 25-23, 25-16, 15-25, 14-16, loss against Adamson University on Sunday. Meanwhile, FEU shocked repeat-seeking National University with an emphatic, 25-12, 25-18, 25-17, win to open its campaign Saturday. The Tams will face an opponent coming off a painful five-set upset loss to University of the East but head coach Rey Diaz remains wary of the Fighting Maroons ability to bounceback. “Hindi pwedeng mag-relax. Kung paano kami naghanda sa champion team ganoon din ang paghahanda namin sa ibang teams. Lahat ng teams sa UAAP dapat pinaghahandaan,” he said. UP suffered a 25-20, 10-25, 22-25, 21-25, loss at the hands of the Red Warriors, who snapped their two-year, 20-game losing streak.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 19th, 2019Related News

Football: Philippine U22 National Team drops first two matches in AFF tourney

The Philippine U22 National Team has dropped their first two matches in the 2019 AFF U22 Championships in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  In their opening on Sunday, February 17th, the Pinoy side squandered a 1-goal lead to lose to Vietnam, 2-1.  University of the Philippines standout JB Borlongan put the Philippines ahead early in the second half, but Trần Danh Trung  came up with the equalizer in the 74th minute.  Four minutes later, Vietnam took over thanks to Lê Minh Bình.  The Pinoy side could not come up with an equalizer of their own, as they went on to fall, 2-1.  Looking to bounce back and salvage their tournament, the Philippines took on powerhouse Thailand, but suffered an even bigger loss, falling 0-3, on Tuesday, February 19.  Thailand only needed three minutes to score as Jaroensak Wonggorn found the back of the net for the opening goal.  Nine minutes later, Jedsadakorn Kowngam doubled the Thailand lead, before Saringkan Promsupa put the match on ice with an 84th minute conversion to make it a 3-0 for the group leaders.  The Pinoy side can end their campaign on a high note when they take on also-winless Timor Leste on Thursday, February 21.    .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 19th, 2019Related News

Economic freedom: Philippines ranks 70th - Philstar.com

Economic freedom: Philippines ranks 70th Philippine Star The Philippines has the world's 70th freest economy though its overall economic freedom score decreased by 1.2 points from last year to 63.....»»

Source: Philippinetimes PhilippinetimesCategory: NewsFeb 19th, 2019Related News

UAAP 81 Football: UST demolishes DLSU on opening day

Season 80 runners up University of Santo Tomas wasted no time in getting on the board, as the Growling Tigers demolished De La Salle University, 3-1 on opening day of the UAAP Season 81 Men's Football Tournament, Sunday afternoon at the FEU-FERN Football Field in Diliman, Quezon City.  Armed with 13 rookies, the Green Archers were looking to make a statement early in the season, and early in the match, it looked like they were primed for a big win after one of those new faces, John Rey Lagura, connected on his first UAAP goal to put DLSU ahead, 1-0 in the 14th minute.  The Green Archer advantage didn't last too long, as Conrad Dimacali responded in the 17th minute to help the Growling Tigers pull even  UST moved into the driver's seat heading into the midgame break, thanks to a 36th minute conversion from Juan Villanueva to make it 2-1.  Action picked up in the second half, as De La Salle looked to rally back, but instead it was UST who found the back of the net once again, with rookie Glen Ramos also hitting his first UAAP goal to put the Growling Tigers ahead, 3-1.  DLSU attempted once last push, but yielded no results, as UST coasted to a big opening day victory.  "Every tournament, especially sa UAAP, mas maganda talaga na makakuha ka kaagad ng three points, pero nag-start kami kanina na masiyadong mababa yung laro namin, medyo yung fitness namin, hindi kami makahawak ng bola," explained UST head coach Marjo Allado after the match. "La Salle is very dangerous in transitions, and buti na lang, yung dalawang free kicks namin, na-convert namin kanina."  "So far, it's a good result for the UST Men's Team sa opening game," Allado added.  While it was a big win, Allado isn't completely happy with the result, noting that he felt his boys were a bit off.  "Naka-score kami ng three goals, pero my concern is yung laro namin kanina, this is not how we play eh. Siguro first game, parang naninibago lang yung mga players, especially yung ibang rookies."  UST opens the season with a win and three points. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 17th, 2019Related News

UAAP 81 Football: Four Tamaraws score as FEU drops UE, 4-1

Far Eastern University picked up a massive opening day win as they trounced University of the East, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at the FEU-FERN Football Field in Diliman, Quezon City. Coming off their worst campaign in years, finishing seventh in UAAP Season 80, FEU looked every bit like the program that once won back-to-back titles as they dominated a contender in UE. Early on however, it looked like the Red Warriors were primed to get on the board first after a foul inside the box from FEU resulted in a penalty attempt from for UE. Red Warriors striker Mar Diano flubbed the penalty attempt however, as his shot hit the cross bar and bounced out. Immediately on the other end, it was FEU who drew first blood, with rookie Jermi Darapan scoring in the 29th minute. Three minutes into the second half, former Baby Tamaraws star Chester Gio Pabualan announced his arrival into the men’s tournament with a header to give the Tamaraws a 2-0 advantage. Opening day was a good one for tournament rookies, as the Red Warriors managed to pull one back in the 51st minute courtesy of first year-wingback Champ Marin, who became the fourth rookie to score a goal in the first matchday. The Tamaraws regained momentum as they widened their advantage to 3-1, courtesy of a free kick conversion from Nicky Canonigo in the 60th minute. FEU continued to pull away in the 66th minute, with Alex Rayos blasting one from way outside the box to make it a three-goal advantage for the Tamaraws. "Winning the first game of the season is the most important," said head coach Bobae Park. "Our players, I know they're also a little bit nervous, but they just tried their best, and their spirit is together."  With the win, FEU joins UST at the top of the early leaderboard with a win and three points each. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 17th, 2019Related News

Joe Harris tops Stephen Curry for 3-point title

Brooklyn's Joe Harris held off Golden State's Stephen Curry to win the 3-point contest at All-Star Saturday night. Harris made 12 consecutive shots at one point in the final round on his way to a score of 26 points. Curry was second with 24 in the finals, and Sacramento's Buddy Hield was third with 19 points. Joe Harris goes perfect on his money ball rack and wins the #MtnDew3PT contest with a final round score of 26! #NBAAllStar #WeGoHard #StateFarmSaturday on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/xw7WABBHeW --- NBA (@NBA) February 17, 2019 The Warriors' star made his first nine shots of the final round, then missed three of five shots from the top of the key. Stephen Curry won the...Keep on reading: Joe Harris tops Stephen Curry for 3-point title.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Feb 17th, 2019Related News

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 16th, 2019Related News

Government agents score hits vs. NPA

Government agents score hits vs. NPA.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: NewsFeb 15th, 2019Related News

PBA D-League: Bulanadi, Valencia-Baste sink Marinero in OT

Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian College Recoletos scored its breakthrough win in the 2019 PBA D-League, repulsing Marinerong Pilipino, 110-104 in overtime Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. Allyn Bulanadi starred for the Golden Harvest, dropping a game-high 32 points, 12 coming in the big 28-point third quarter assault for his side before scoring four more to put the game away in extra time. He also had nine rebounds, three blocks, and two assists as he emerged as the new go-to-guy for San Sebastian. Coach Egay Macaraya, though, felt that the credit shouldn't be given solely to Bulanadi given how good the team recovered after squandering a 14-point fourth quarter lead. "Isang factor si Allyn, but everybody, noong extension, hindi nag-give up ang mga bata. I guess yun ang bini-build namin ngayon, building character ng Baste," he said. "Nakita ko na 'di kami nag-give up and that's the very thing na I'm very happy." Valencia-Baste looked poised to run away with the win after taking an 84-70 lead, but Mike Ayonayon and Art Aquino conspired to bring Marinerong Pilipino back in the game and tied it at 100 just as the regulation clock expired. But Bulanadi had other plans as he commanded the finishing kick the Golden Harvest needed to score the breakthrough and gain the first victory in the Foundation Group. RK Ilagan also added 28 points on a 5-of-9 shooting from threes, while also collecting seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals, while JM Calma scattered nine points, 10 boards, and two dimes for Valencia-Baste. The loss spoiled Ayonayon's 23-point night, as well as the 19 points and five rebounds from Aquino as the Skippers fell on their season opener. BOX SCORES VALENCIA-BASTE 110 -- Bulanadi 32, Ilagan 28, Calma 9, Villapando 8, Capobres 7, Dela Cruz 6, Are 5, Altamirano 5, Sumoda 4, Desoyo 3, Bonleon 3, Calahat 0, Tero 0, Loristo 0. MARINERONG PILIPINO 104 -- Ayonayon 23, Aquino 19, Wamar 15, Rodriguez 15, Santillan 12, Asistio 9, Mendoza 6, Reyes 3, Serrano 2, Victoria 0, Bonifacio 0, Bunag 0. QUARTER SCORES: 30-26, 50-53, 78-68, 100-100, 110-104......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 14th, 2019Related News

Philippines to score higher in economic freedom index — DOF

The Department of Finance (DOF) expects the Philippines to score higher in the economic freedom index of the Heritage Foundation next year, following the enactment of various laws that set improvements on Filipinos’ property rights and trade freedom......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: FinanceFeb 14th, 2019Related News

PBA: Allein Maliksi learning the ropes as Blackwater s leader

For 31-year old Allein Maliksi, taking the daunting task of being the Blackwater Elite's locker room leader will be no walk in the park, but he is willing to take charge. His team showed promise against the hobbled Alaska Aces Wednesday evening at the Mall of Asia Arena, going down by as much as 13, 63-50, midway through the third quarter before closing in on the lead and eventually taking the lead in the fourth. Although Blackwater exhibited grit, the inexperience of a young team became speed bumps down the stretch as the veteran Aces escaped with a 103-101 win. Maliksi led the Blackwater offense with 25 points, five rebounds, three assists and several clutch jumpers, as he became a much-needed driving force for a team that features five rookies and a handful role players. "Wala yung teamwork. So kailangan talaga namin mag-build ulit ng magkakasama kami ng matagal, so kumbaga medyo parang naging rookie team ulit yung team ko so para sa akin as a leader nila na nilo-look forward," said the former Growling Tiger.  "I'm always trying to take charge na ma-encourage sila, fix their mindset na this game, we need to be smart." Maliksi previously thought that being a leader was to sacrifice one's indivudual game for the overall well-being of the squad, but as coach Bong Ramos made him realize, that was far from being a leader. "Sabi ko sa kaniya, 'ba’t ayaw mong tumira?' 'Kasi, coach, diba ako ang leader,' sabi niya, 'eh gusto ko sakin magsimula yung nagfi-feed, yung nagpapasa.' “No,' sabi ko, 'not because you’re trying to be a leader or you’re the leader of the team, hindi ka na titira," Ramos said. "That is not your game. Your game is to score, maging agresibo ka umopensa. Hindi pupwede yung ganiyan. Eh yung mga kasama mo inaasahan shu-shoot ka eh. Biro mo four attempts ka lang sa Ginebra,'" he added. By being the team's designated scorer, Maliksi noted that aside from the points, he had also set an example for the team in other aspects of the game, such as precise passing and defending. That could serve as a great start for their talented rookies in Paul Desiderio, Abu Tratter, and Diego Dario, along with newcomers Joseph Eriobu and Gelo Alolino. "[Medyo proud ako sa mga teammates ko and sa team ko. Kasi, kahit nalalamangan kami ng double-digit, nakakabalik kami. And yung sa dulo, medyo breaks of the game, di kami naka-depensa. Naka-shoot si Banchero at si Sonny Thoss sa huli. So, yun nga, sabi ko sa kanila, after the game, proud ako sa kanilang lahat kasi hindi tayo nag-give up." Staring at a record which is unlikely enough for a playoff run, all Maliksi wants the team to do is to hang their head high for the season isn't over in the first conference. "Iniisip lang namin every game magimprove kami. Every game lumalaban hindi yung lopsided na tambak talaga kami -- yun yung talagang iniiwasan namin eh. Though hindi kami ganun kabeteranong team kasi mga rookies and mga ngayon lang halos nabigyan ng playing time yung iba,"  "We need to be patient about it. Hindi pwede mawalan ng pasensya -- ako hinahabaan ko rin kasi minsan gusto ko na mainis pero hindi pwede kasi hindi ka pwede bumigay as a leader." __ Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 13th, 2019Related News

NCAA Season 94: Lady Chiefs complete three-peat

Three-peat. Arellano University extended its reign to three straight years after the Lady Chiefs completed a dramatic best-of-three series comeback with a 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18, win over University of Perpetual Help Tuesday in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball Finals decider at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Chiefs recovered from an 11-13 deficit in the fourth set with a blistering rally to claim their fourth title in five years and third in a row against the last team to mark a three-peat five seasons ago.          Arellano U squandered an 8-3 lead in the fourth set but regrouped just in time to score 11 straight points for a 22-13 lead over the shocked Lady Altas. Perpetual tried to fight back but an overcooked serve by Jenny Gaviola ended the Lady Altas’ failed mission to bring the title back to Las Pinas. "Kung titingnan natin yung Perpetual talagang mataas ang respeto ko sa kanila. Talagang sinukat nila kami, pinilit nilang ilabas ang dapat naming ilabas eh so nagpapasalamat kami doon. 'Yun talo namin sa kanila noong Game 1 malaking bagay talaga 'yun," said Arellano U head coach Obet Javier. "Dahil doon natuto kaming bumangon.Na-realize namin ang dapat naming gawin."     The Lady Chiefs also spoiled Perpetual's attempt of a triple crown after its men's and juniors teams ruled their respective divisions.  Back-to-back Finals Most Valuable Player Regine Arocha finished with game-high 16 points including five aces while adding 11 excellent receptions for Arellano U. Princess Bello got 10 markers while Season MVP Necole Ebuen and Carla Donato delivered 11 points each for the Lady Chiefs, who received 36 points off Perpetual's errors.     Perpetual drew first blood two weeks ago in a shocking 21-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20, win before Arellano U forced a decider with a 23-25, 25-9, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12, victory in Game 2.  The Lady Chiefs started out firing on all cylinders and built a 14-7 lead in the opening frame. Arellano U held a 20-17 lead heading into the closing stretch of the first set only to see the determined Lady Altas make six unanswered points to take the driver’s seat, 23-20. An error by Shyra Umandal stopped Perpetual’s rally before Cindy Imbo put the Lady Altas at set point. Arellano U saved a set point before Gaviola sealed the frame.  The Lady Chiefs dominated the second and third sets.  Graduating hitter Cindy Imbo posted 12 points - all from kills - and added 13 digs in her swan song while Umandal and Gaviola scored 10 markers eac.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 12th, 2019Related News

NCAA Season 94: Pakiramdam namin ayaw na lumaban ng Perpetual -- Ebuen

Arellano University surrendered the opening set of the Finals best-of-three series decider to University of Perpetual Help, but the calm and composed Lady Chiefs knew that their championship experience would come into play when push came to shove. The next three sets proved that as the Lady Chiefs flexed their muscles to silence the feisty Lady Altas, 22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18, Tuesday to complete their grand slam bid in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.    Arellano U bagged its third straight title and fourth overall crown in the last five seasons at the expense of the last team to score a three-peat.   “Pakiramdam po namin kanina, sabi po namin ayaw na lumaban ng Perpetual,” said Season Most Valuable Player Necole Ebuen, who punished the defense of the Lady Altas with 11 points all coming off attacks. Arellano U, just like in their four-set win in Game 2 that forced the rubber match, squandered a 14-7 lead to yield the opening frame. The Lady Chiefs were quick to adjust and bounced back mightily in the next three frames, dropping the hammer early to stun the Lady Altas.    Arellano U successfully shut down Perpetual’s main scorer Cindy Imbo as the Lady Altas crumbled under pressure witnessed by a jam-packed crowd. “Siyempre po ‘yung key player nila na si Imbo parang naba-block na rin po, napipigilan na rin po siya kanina,” added Ebuen. “Parang sabi po namin i-grab na po namin yung opportunity na hindi na sila lumalaban. Sabi namin magtuluy-tuloy lang tayo. Tayo ang mananalo.”     The Lady Chiefs smelled blood as early as the second set and when they saw the Lady Chiefs in disarray they knew they already got the crown in the bag. “Sinabi namin noong nag-usap po kami, sabi namin na ‘Ibinibigay na sa atin, heto na kunin na natin,’” said back-to-back Finals MVP Regine Arocha, who fired 16 points and 11 digs. “Tapos noong nakakalamang na kami gaya ng sinabi ng mga coaches po namin na ‘Kapag nakita nyo ng nakadapa wag nyo ng patayuin pa. Tapakan n’yo pa para ‘di na makabangon pa,” she added. This the Lady Chiefs did and the rest is history.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsFeb 12th, 2019Related News

How competitive is the Philippines in acquiring, growing and retaining talent?

THE PHILIPPINES led lower-middle-income economies in a 2019 talent competitiveness survey, in which the country nevertheless posted a lower score and rank compared to the previous year. Read the full story......»»

Source: Bworldonline BworldonlineCategory: FinanceFeb 12th, 2019Related News

Philippines’ talent edge slips in index

THE PHILIPPINES led lower-middle-income economies in a 2019 talent competitiveness survey, in which the country nevertheless posted a lower score and rank compared to the previous year......»»

Source: Bworldonline BworldonlineCategory: FinanceFeb 12th, 2019Related News

MARGINALIA: Four enduring challenges to revolutionary-to-ruler transition

YANGON, Myanmar (MindaNews /11 February) – It’s exactly 20 years back. 1998. February 11. 3:12 am. “In a few moments, we will land in Mehrabad International Airport,” an IranAir flight attendant in navy blue hijab assured with a smile the drowsy passengers to a seven-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran. A score of fellow students from Mindanao and I were fetched by a minibus at the airport and transported to Qazvin, a city over 100 kilometers away. After taking a sumptuous breakfast in Karaj in the suburb of the capital, we arrived in Imam Khomeini International University where we had to learn within six months the language of Gulistan, Divan-e Hafiz, and Shahnameh......»»

Source: Mindanews MindanewsCategory: NewsFeb 11th, 2019Related News