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Chrissy Teigen, John Legend reveal & lsquo;deep pain& rsquo; over losing baby

Model Chrissy Teigen and her award-winning singer husband John Legend have disclosed that they are in «deep pain» after losing their baby following a difficult pregnancy......»»

Category: entertainmentSource: thestandard thestandardOct 5th, 2020

Coaching great John Thompson of Georgetown dead at 78

By JOSEPH WHITE AP Sports Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — John Thompson, the imposing Hall of Famer who turned Georgetown into a “Hoya Paranoia” powerhouse and became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, has died. He was 78 His death was announced in a family statement released by Georgetown on Monday. No details were disclosed. “Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on but, most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else,” the statement said. “However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday.” One of the most celebrated and polarizing figures in his sport, Thompson took over a moribund Georgetown program in the 1970s and molded it in his unique style into a perennial contender, culminating with a national championship team anchored by center Patrick Ewing in 1984. Georgetown reached two other title games with Thompson in charge and Ewing patrolling the paint, losing to Michael Jordan’s North Carolina team in 1982 and to Villanova in 1985. At 6-foot-10, with an ever-present white towel slung over his shoulder, Thompson literally and figuratively towered over the Hoyas for decades, becoming a patriarch of sorts after he quit coaching in 1999. One of his sons, John Thompson III, was hired as Georgetown’s coach in 2004. When the son was fired in 2017, the elder Thompson -- known affectionately as “Big John” or “Pops” to many -- was at the news conference announcing Ewing as the successor. Along the way, Thompson said what he thought, shielded his players from the media and took positions that weren’t always popular. He never shied away from sensitive topics -- particularly the role of race in both sports and society -- and he once famously walked off the court before a game to protest an NCAA rule because he felt it hurt minority athletes. “I’ll probably be remembered for all the things that kept me out of the Hall of Fame, ironically, more than for the things that got me into it,” Thompson said on the day he was elected to the Hall in 1999. Thompson became coach of the Hoyas in 1972 and began remaking a team that was 3-23 the previous season. Over the next 27 years, he led Georgetown to 14 straight NCAA tournaments (1979-92), 24 consecutive postseason appearances (20 NCAA, 4 NIT), three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985) and won six Big East tournament championships. Employing a physical, defense-focused approach that frequently relied on a dominant center -- Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were among his other pupils -- Thompson compiled a 596-239 record (.715 winning percentage). He had 26 players drafted by the NBA. One of his honors -- his selection as coach of the U.S. team for the 1988 Olympics -- had a sour ending when the Americans had to settle for the bronze medal. It was a result so disappointing that Thompson put himself on a sort of self-imposed leave at Georgetown for a while, coaching practices and games but leaving many other duties to his assistants. Off the court, Thompson was both a role model and a lightning rod. A stickler for academics, he kept a deflated basketball on his desk, a reminder to his players that a degree was a necessity because a career in basketball relied on a tenuous “nine pounds of air.” The school boasted that 76 of 78 players who played four seasons under Thompson received their degrees. He was a Black coach who recruited mostly Black players to a predominantly white Jesuit university in Washington, and Thompson never hesitated to speak out on behalf of his players. One of the most dramatic moments in Georgetown history came on Jan. 14, 1989, when he walked off the court to a standing ovation before the tipoff of a home game against Boston College, demonstrating in a most public way his displeasure against NCAA Proposition 42. The rule denied athletic scholarships to freshmen who didn’t meet certain requirements, and Thompson said it was biased against underprivileged students. Opposition from Thompson, and others, led the NCAA to modify the rule. Thompson’s most daring move came that same year, when he summoned notorious drug kingpin Rayful Edmond III for a meeting in the coach’s office. Thompson warned Edmond to stop associating with Hoyas players and to leave them alone, using his respect in the Black community to become one of the few people to stare down Edmond and not face a reprisal. Though aware of his influence, Thompson did not take pride in becoming the first Black coach to take a team to the Final Four, and he let a room full of reporters know it when asked his feelings on the subject at a news conference in 1982. “I resent the hell out of that question if it implies I am the first Black coach competent enough to take a team to the Final Four,” Thompson said. “Other Blacks have been denied the right in this country; coaches who have the ability. I don’t take any pride in being the first Black coach in the Final Four. I find the question extremely offensive.” Born Sept. 2, 1941, John R. Thompson Jr. grew up in Washington, D.C. His father was always working — on a farm in Maryland and later as a laborer in the city — and could neither read nor write. “I never in my life saw my father’s hands clean,” Thompson told The Associated Press in 2007. “Never. He’d come home and scrub his hands with this ugly brown soap that looked like tar. I thought that was the color of his hands. When I was still coaching, kids would show up late for practice and I’d (say) ... ‘My father got up every morning of his life at 5 a.m. to go to work. Without an alarm.‘” Thompson’s parents emphasized education, but he struggled in part of because of poor eyesight and labored in Catholic grammar school. He was moved to a segregated public school, had a growth spurt and became good enough at basketball to get into John Carroll, a Catholic high school, where he led the team to 55 consecutive victories and two city titles. He went to Providence College as one of the most touted basketball prospects in the country and led the Friars to the first NCAA bid in school history. He graduated in 1964 and played two seasons with Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics, earning a pair of championship rings as a sparingly used backup to Bill Russell. Thompson returned to Washington, got his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia and went 122-28 over six seasons at St. Anthony’s before accepting the job at Georgetown, an elite school that had relatively few Black students. Faculty and students rallied around him after a bedsheet with racist words was hung inside the school’s gym before a game during the 1974-75 season. Thompson sheltered his players with closed practices, tightly controlled media access and a prohibition on interviews with freshmen in their first semester -- a restriction that still stands for Georgetown’s basketball team. Combined with Thompson’s flashes of emotion and his players’ rough-and-tumble style of play, it wasn’t long before the words “Hoya Paranoia” came to epitomize the new era of basketball on the Hilltop campus. Georgetown lost the 1982 NCAA championship game when Fred Brown mistakenly passed the ball to North Carolina’s James Worthy in the game’s final seconds. Two years later, Ewing led an 84-75 win over Houston in the title game. The Hoyas were on the verge of a repeat the following year when they were stunned in the championship game by coach Rollie Massimino’s Villanova team in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Success allowed Thompson to rake in money through endorsements, but he ran afoul of his Georgetown bosses when he applied for a gambling license for a business venture in Nevada in 1995. Thompson, who liked playing the slot machines in Las Vegas, reluctantly dropped the application after the university president objected. Centers Ewing, Mourning and Mutombo turned Georgetown into “Big Man U” under Thompson, although his last superstar was guard Allen Iverson, who in 1996 also became the first player under Thompson to leave school early for the NBA draft. “Thanks for Saving My Life Coach,” Iverson wrote at the start of an Instagram post Monday with photos of the pair. The Hoyas teams in the 1990s never came close to matching the achievements of the 1980s, and Thompson’s era came to a surprising and sudden end when he resigned in the middle of the 1998-99 season, citing distractions from a pending divorce. Thompson didn’t fade from the limelight. He became a sports radio talk show host and a TV and radio game analyst, joining the very profession he had frustrated so often as a coach. He loosened up, allowing the public to see his lighter side, but he remained pointed and combative when a topic mattered to him. A torch was passed in 2004, when John Thompson III became Georgetown’s coach. The younger Thompson, with “Pops” often watching from the stands or sitting in the back of the room for news conferences, returned the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007. Another son, Ronny Thompson, was head coach for one season at Ball State and is now a TV analyst. ___ Joseph White, a former AP sports writer in Washington who died in 2019, prepared this obituary. AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 29th, 2020

SEA GAMES: The silver that glittered like gold

When the editorial staff of ABS-CBN Sports was tasked to come up with our most memorable coverage, it didn’t take long for this writer to respond. The Philippine men’s volleyball team’s Southeast Asian Games semifinal match was the first thing that came to mind. Pesonally, that game against the highly-fancied Thailand squad topped all the countless volleyball matches that I’ve covered in my career. I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the emotions I felt that chilly night of December 8, 2019. Around 6,700 fans filled the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City not knowing that what they were about to witness was something historic. A magical night that would take away the frustrations they felt the day before when the more popular women’s team finished the preliminary round winless. For us sportswriters covering that assignment, we knew the Filipinos were up for a tough ride. Thailand ruled the last four editions of the event. On the other hand, the Philippines’ last significant outing in the biennial meet was a bronze medal finish back in 1991 – or when the current national team’s oldest member, setter Jessie Lopez was just five-years old.      Did we doubt our own team? Let’s just say we prayed to the high heavens to give us something positive to write about. But don’t get us wrong. Those who followed the formation and preparation of the squad knew it would yield results come the SEA Games. After all, in all three batches of the Nationals that participated in the regional sports meet since 2015, this particular team had the longest time to prepare – around eight months to be exact. The team’s composition itself looked really promising. For the first time, two of country’s best hitters in Marck Espejo and Bryan Bagunas, who both have experience playing in the Japan V. League,  donned the tricolors together. Espejo returned after skipping the 2017 edition so did his teammates in the 2015 squad Rex Intal and setter Ish Polvorosa. Bagunas was on his second tour of duty along with team captain John Vic De Guzman, Mark Alfafara, RanRan Abdilla and libero Jack Kalingking. Head coach Dante Alinsunurin, who was appointed to handle the team after Oliver Almadro and Sammy Acaylar in 2015 and 2017, respectively, tapped an old hand in Lopez and injected young bloods in playmaker Owa Retamar, Jau Umandal, Kim Malabunga, Ricky Marcos and Francis Saura. As part of their buildup the Nationals joined the Thailand Open Sealect Tuna Championship July last year.          The Filipinos achieved a great feat when they won bronze. Fans were able to witness the Nationals’ campaign via YouTube streaming while we volleyball writers, got to file our full stories through the help of De Guzman and Bagunas (God bless their beautiful hearts) who supplied us with game stats and granted postgame interviews. It’s just a shame I never got to cover the team’s training in Japan when the Nationals’ preparation went on full throttle. (Note: A little confusion in the training camp coverage assignments had me flying to Japan with the women’s squad and Lance Agcaoili of Spin.ph joining the men’s team. But it was a great experience, nonetheless, and I’m grateful for Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. for the opportunity.)     I was as confused as the other sportswriters present during the draw for the group stage a couple of months before the SEA Games when Alinsunurin chose to join the four-team bracket with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Those three teams are considered contenders every SEA Games edition. And earning a semifinal spot would be harder compared to the other group composed of Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. Fortunately, the gamble was worth it. Espejo and Bagunas were superb offensively, Malabunga and Retamar made their presence felt and the Nationals’ blocking shocked Cambodia and Vietnam as the Filipinos swept them both to secure a semis seat.   Then came the steamrolling Indonesians. Honestly, I thought the Nationals would sweep their way to the group’s top seeding. That way the PHI’s would've avoided a semis clash with Thailand. Forced to take on the defending champions, the Filipinos found themselves down in the first set. They got back in the second frame before yielding the third. And when the Thais came to match point, 24-21, in the fourth we all thought it was over. Fans were slowly emptying the bleachers not wanting to see the impending defeat. I was already waiting for the final score. Ready break the result. Then a miracle happened. The Nationals nibbled on the Thais' lead to force a deuce. After another deadlock, the Filipinos stole the set. The fifth frame was classic story of ‘who wants it more will win.’ An extended set made it even more dramatic. I vividly remember that sequence when Bagunas hammered the game-clinching kill off a lob from Lopez. After that all that I can recall was me pumping my fist up in the air and slapping the hardest high-fives I ever did with those inside the press room while howling like a madman.    The national team assured itself of a silver after 42 years. A silver after four freaking decades. They did it. Of course, the Indonesians bullied their way to winning the gold medal in a sweep of the inexperienced Filipinos. But who cares, the host team exceeded its podium expectations. That silver that glittered like gold made that coverage truly memorable. But it never crossed my mind that it would be the last important volleyball event that I will get to report. (Note: It would’ve been the UAAP if not for the health crisis that put all sporting events to a halt. Sad.) And that’s why I ended up writing these last few paragraphs. A farewell from this section. From my first article for this website back on December 1, 2014 – a post-mortem of Petron’s breakthrough title in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix – to my last published story, these were all written with only one thing in mind: in the service of the Filipino sports fan worldwide. Our run may have not been perfect, of course, we had our flaws. We had our fair share of criticisms from fans, athletes, sports personalities and sometimes even from our partner leagues and properties. We accepted our shortcomings. We tried to be better. But we are proud of what we did. We take pride with how we delivered sports stories through various digital executions that showcased sports beyond the confines of competition. On midnight of September 1 while most of you lay sound asleep, deep in slumber, hopefully, having a good dream and hours away from waking up looking forward to a better day, this website will be snapped out of existence.  More than half a decade of sharing stories to the Filipino sports fan will be seeing its last presence online on Monday – a holiday to celebrate the nation’s heroes. This website will then hear its final buzzer, its final whistle. Thousands of articles – written with passion, dedication and love – will be taken down as this website goes offline together with majority of ABS-CBN Sports’ social media accounts. But soon, hopefully, it will once again see the light of day.    We do hope that you will remember us, for we will remember all of you who made us your Kapamilya.   -- 30 --   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles Mark Escarlote has served as a sub-section editor for ABS-CBN Sports' website since 2014. He is among thousands of ABS-CBN employees who will be retrenched on August 31, 2020.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

Rodtang retains title in ONE Championship’s return to action

31 July 2020 – Bangkok, Thailand: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), made a successful return to its flagship event schedule, starting off with ONE: NO SURRENDER last Friday night, 31 July in Bangkok. The event was broadcast live around the world from a closed-door, audience-free venue. Once again, the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent showcased their skills in the ONE Championship ring. In the main event, reigning and defending ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon successfully defended his title against former ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Champion “The Baby Shark” Petchdam Petchyindee Academy after five action-packed rounds. Petchdam established his jab early in the first round, setting up his vaunted left kick. Rodtang was slow to start, as he instead opted to get reads on his opponent from a distance. Rodtang turned up the pressure towards the end of the second round, hunting Petchdam with his trademark boxing combinations and thunderous elbows. In the third round, Rodtang began walking Petchdam down with his punches. The champion caught Petchdam with a left hook, testing the challenger’s chin on wobbly legs, but the latter recovered well. In the fourth round, Rodtang resumed his onslaught, rolling forward like a tank as Petchdam fired away with kicks to the body. In the fifth round, Petchdam again found success with his left roundhouse kick, but it wasn’t enough to thwart Rodtang’s forward pressure. After five fiery rounds, two of three judges scored the bout in favor of Rodtang to win by majority decision, who retaind his title. Reigning ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy turned in perhaps the most important victory of his career, outlasting legendary Thai striker “The Boxing Computer” Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex to retain his title in the co-main event. The first round saw the legendary Yodsanklai connect on his patented triple uppercut, while Petchmorakot tried to shake off the cobwebs. Petchmorakot upped the aggression in the second round, catching Yodsanklai’s kick as he uncorked a myriad of straight punches to the head. Yodsanklai answered back with slicing elbows, creating a cut on the defending champion’s eyelid. In the third round, Petchmorakot opened up the action with a left elbow, while Yodsanklai countered with a straight left hand down the middle. Petchmorakot increased his punch output in the fourth, tagging Yodsanklai with elbows and straights, but the legend would not surrender. In the fifth and final round, Yodsanklai ambushed Petchmorakot with combinations, while the champion danced away to keep himself safe from range. In the end, Petchmorakot did just enough to earn the victory by a close majority decision. In a ONE Super Series Kickboxing Super-Bout, Thai featherweight talents Superbon and Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong figured in a thrilling three-round war of attrition. The first round was close, as both Sitthichai and Superbon traded their best offense at the center of the ONE Championship ring. The second round saw much of the same action, with both men winding up on their kicks and doubling up on their punches, but it was Superbon who started to pull away with a higher output and more impactful strikes. In the third and final round, Sitthichai and Superbon turned on the aggression, attacking each other from multiple angles with neither man willing to take a step backward. In the end, Superbon recorded a hard-earned victory, getting the better of his trilogy with Sitthichai via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. In the mixed martial arts women’s atomweight division, reigning ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex continued her rise through the ranks with another exciting victory. Stamp put together another masterful striking performance, dominating fellow Thai warrior Sunisa “Thunderstorm” Srisen to earn win number five in her young career. At the sound of the first round bell, Stamp came out aggressively, looking for the Thai clinch. Once she had Srisen secured in close quarters, Stamp began unloading on a plethora of hard knees to the midsection. Srisen showed incredible toughness in enduring Stamp’s offensive barrage, but the end came shortly after. Stamp capitalized on a botched takedown from Srisen, winding up on her opponent’s back where she finished the bout with a series of punches. In a mixed martial arts catchweight contest, Brazilian newcomer Fabricio “Wonder Boy” Andrade made an impressive ONE Championship debut, dominating Mark “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo of New Zealand and the Philippines en route to a spectacular finish within two rounds. Action started off on the feet in the first round, with each man landing significant power shots. Abelardo stalked and chased Andrade across the ring, but the Brazilian showed poise and was able to pick the Filipino-Kiwi apart from the outside. In the second round, Andrade continued his elusive movement, peppering Abelardo from range before swiftly taking his back when the opportunity presented itself. From there, Andrade latched onto in a deep rear-naked choke. Abelardo faded rapidly, and was effectively put to sleep as the referee called a halt to the contest. Kicking off the action at ONE: NO SURRENDER were Thai striking superstars “The Angel Warrior” Panpayak Jitmuangnon and "The Kicking Machine" Superlek Kiatmoo9, who squared off in a three-round ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest. This was the first time the two flyweights met inside the ONE Championship ring, after having faced each other multiple instances before in Thailand’s biggest arenas. Superlek was aggressive to start the bout, connecting on a series of combinations in the opening round. Panpayak scored with a handful of solid counter shots in the second frame, as Superlek continued his onslaught. In the third and final round, Superlek repeatedly found a home for his right kick on Panpayak’s body, as he ran away with a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards. Official results for ONE: NO SURRENDER ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship: Rodtang Jitmuangnon defeats Petchdam Petchyindee Academy by Majority Decision (MD) after 5 rounds ONE Featherweight Muay Thai World Championship: Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy defeats Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex by Majority Decision (MD) after 5 rounds Kickboxing Featherweight bout: Superbon defeats Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight bout: Stamp Fairtex defeats Sunisa Srisen by TKO (Strikes) at 3:59 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Catch Weight (67.0 KG) bout: Fabricio Andrade defeats Mark Fairtex Abelardo by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:11 minutes of round 2 Muay Thai Flyweight bout: Superlek Kiatmoo9 defeats Panpayak Jitmuangnon by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton shares her incredible story on Rich Franklin s Franklin Speaking podcast

Bethany Hamilton’s inspiring story has captured the imagination of millions who have been moved by her unbreakable spirit in the face of adversity.   The American surfer inspired people across the globe when she returned to the sport she loved, despite the loss of her left arm in a shark attack. Her following has continued to grow because of her subsequent success, and recently, her 2019 documentary, Unstoppable, which is currently streaming on Netflix.  Rich Franklin is also no stranger to adversity. He battled for acceptance and success to become recognized as the best middleweight mixed martial artist in the world as UFC Champion, before becoming Vice President of the world’s largest martial arts organization, ONE Championship.  The hall-of-fame athlete has also encountered many fascinating characters during his career, particularly as the host of Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series, and his new video podcast, Franklin Speaking, which takes the audience on a deep dive as he and co-host Jonathan Fong discover their guests’ stories.   Bethany is among the most colorful and inspiring characters Rich has met. After she first got on a board aged 8, she was a precocious talent in the surfing world who gained her first sponsor just a year later. However, aged 13, a shark took her arm when she was out surfing with a friend.  Losing a limb, particularly at such a young age, would have made most ordinary people give up on their dreams of surfing entirely. But despite such a traumatic ordeal, Bethany was back among the waves just a month later and went on to win competitions all over the world.  She also appeared everywhere from Oprah to Ellen and wowed viewers with her exceptional strength of will. Soon, Bethany evolved from being seen as an unfortunate victim into an inspirational role model.    At times, however, being in the limelight comes at a cost. Having made the transformation from the world of education to mixed martial arts, Rich can relate to the prospect of having to adjust to a sudden wave of attention, and asked about that on the show.  “How did you manage? Especially at that age, because I had trouble with this. I used to be a high school teacher and, what seemed like overnight, my life turned into something where people were standing in line for autographs. How did you manage this at the age of 13?”  Bethany’s responses offered a glimpse into just how difficult it was for her to deal will so much attention at such a tender age.  “It took me a long time to get to a place where I was more accepting of it. The only thing that kept me sane was having good friends and surfing. I think over time, I just saw the beauty in storytelling, and sharing my life was really impactful, and I saw the value of that. I wanted to let that be a part of my life.”  The 30-year-old is certainly no stranger to big challenges. There was one, in particular, which left Rich in awe as he quizzed her about surfing ‘Jaws’ in Maui, which is home to some of the biggest waves in the world.  ‘’The wave could literally take out a house. It’s just so enormous and powerful with the type of waves that are death-defying. I’ve always had a drive for bigger surf, even when I was younger. I was always chasing bigger waves than my peers.”  Bethany, now a mother of two, is a multiple award-winner, has had a film and numerous documentaries made about her inspirational life story, and has published eight books. Her latest venture is an online course entitled Unstoppable Year, which she broke down to Rich and Jonathan.   “I’m taking all of the things I’ve learned along the way or the things I’ve done that have empowered me to overcome and kind of live a somewhat unstoppable life. I’m not perfect, but kind of carrying on life with that unstoppable feeling and knowing that we can overcome when tough stuff comes our way, we can be a blessing to others. We can live thoughtfully and we can change our mindset from negative to positive. Every little choice we make can have a huge impact on our future. We’re packaging that into something really rad and life-changing for people. It really is changing people’s lives, so it’s super fun to be a part of.”  The way Bethany tackles conquering adversity and crushing extraordinary challenges impressed Rich, and their chat offered a fascinating look at how far a strong mindset can get you.  Though she was one of the first guests on the show, her story has set a high bar for what’s to come in the future.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2020

ONE Championship: Heavyweight champ Brandon Vera all praise for challenger Arjan Bhullar

When the world finally gets back on its feet and sporting events become allowed once more, Asia-based mixed martial arts promotion ONE Championship will have a ton of must-see matchups on tap, and one of them is the ONE Heavyweight World Championship bout between reigning titleholder Brandon “The Truth” Vera and top contender Arjan “Singh” Bhullar.  (READ ALSO - Brandon Vera preparing for new kind of challenge: fatherhood) The Vera-Bhullar encounter was initially scheduled for ONE’s return to Manila on May 29th, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced ONE Championship to postpone their shows for May as well.  When the fight does finally happen, it will likely be worth the wait, especially since Bhullar could be Vera’s toughest test yet, and ‘The Truth’ himself knows it.  “I’m very excited to be fighting Arjan Bhullar and to defend our ONE Heavyweight World Title. I think he is probably the best candidate to come face me,” Vera told John Wolcott of ONE Championship.  “This guy is the real deal. I respect this guy tremendously. His wrestling is ridiculous. He comes from a school just like where I came from – huge pedigree,” he added.  The Indian-Canadian Bhullar, like Vera, made his name in the UFC, compiling an impressive 3-1 record before jumping to ONE. In his promotional debut with the Asian martial arts giant, Bhullar dominated former title contender Mauro Cerilli en route to a unanimous decision victory. Prior to becoming a 10-1 professional mixed martial artist however, Bhullar was a standout on the wrestling mats, representing Canada in the World Championships on multiple occassions, as well as on the Commonwealth Games, the Pan American Games, and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  While Bhullar’s wrestling has been well documented, Vera says that the 33-year old also has some dangerous hands.  “This guy has amazing boxing that nobody’s talking about,” Vera noted. “This guy’s boxing is ridiculous. His head movement is crisp. He’s fast, and he likes to stay in the pocket.” The biggest weapon that Bhullar may have against the Filipino-American champion however, is the ability to go to deep rounds without fading. Good cardio is often one of the best qualities of a top-level wrestler.  “Arjan has more gas than most heavyweights, and that’s something really different about him,” Vera added. The reigning heavyweight king has yet to go the distance in his ONE career, with all four of his wins coming in the first round. “He knows how to pace himself. Most heavyweights don’t know how to pace themselves. “I’m going to have to push and test and poke in different places that he is not used to,” he continued.  With arguably his toughest test ahead of him, Vera believes that this fight could, and should end in exciting fashion.  “We’re [going to be] in a championship fight. It needs to be decided between us, not the three people watching,” he concluded......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2020

UAAP Season 82: No time to relax for fired up Lady Eagles

Even after a dominating win to set their title defense in motion, Ateneo de Manila University feels that it is still far from the same form that won the Lady Eagles the throne last year.   Graduating hitter Kat Tolentino points out that the Lady Eagles can’t afford to relax with just a step in their long journey to remain seated on the throne.   “It was a good first win. There’s still a lot that needs to be fixed. It’s just the start of the season. It doesn’t mean anything for us,” said Tolentino on Wednesday following Ateneo’s 25-13, 25-17, 25-23, drubbing of University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena. The Lady Eagles buckled down to business and showed how serious they are in keeping the title perched in their campus in Katipunan, crushing the Fighting Maroons in one hour and 31 minutes. But the battle is far from over.   “We’re still trying to defend the crown and like what coach (Oliver Almadro) said ‘Just because you won last year, doesn’t mean that it’s the same as this year.’ So we’re gonna continue working hard,’” said Tolentino. Despite losing key players in now graduate Bea De Leon and Maddie Madayag after their title conquest last season, the Lady Eagles showed that they remained to be a deep team proven by their balance scoring.      “Sabi nga kanina this game is all about teamwork and I think na, yes, we have a lot to improve on but I’m grateful na whatever we planned on and worked on, it worked. Kasi we worked as a team,” said rookie Faith Nisperos. Tolentino had plenty of help with Nisperos and Jules Samonte, who slid back to middle, chipping in 10 points each while Ponggay Gaston and returning Jho Maraguinot combining for 10 markers. The win will serve as a morale-booster for Ateneo as they prime up for a bigger battle ahead when the Lady Eagles take on archrival De La Salle University on Saturday.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 4th, 2020

& lsquo;Iceman& rsquo; diver chases records in the deep

Weissensee---It was not the way Christian Redl’s latest deep-diving record attempt was meant to end: being hauled to the surface of Austria’s frozen Weissensee lake after losing consciousness in the icy waters......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 21st, 2020

MPBL: Clutch Suerte carries Batangas to victory; Pampanga clinches playoff berth

Rey Suerte showed nerves of steel, towing Batangas City-Tanduay to a tight 72-68 victory over Navotas-Unipak Sardines in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season at the Ynares Sports Arena, Thursday. Down by two points, Suerte fired a three-pointer from the left wing before fishing a foul off Navotas’ Kojack Melegrito which led to two free throws which gave Batangas a three-point advantage, 69-66, with 1:39 left in the game. Osama Abdurasad’s lay-up with 39.4 seconds left trimmed the Athletics’ lead to one. However, Suerte once again came to Batangas’ defense, converting a trey on the same spot to push the lead back to four points, 72-68, with 16 seconds remaining. Abdurasad missed a three-pointer while Jason Melano stole the ball off a pass from Joesel Prudente to seal the deal for the Athletics. “We really need it sa standings and especially for the people of Batangas, atleast kahit papaano napa-smile namin sila. Kahit kaunti. [But] we’re still trying to figure out how to win,” said Batangas head coach Woody Co. Suerte – who scored Batangas’ last eight points – finished the game with 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds for the Athletics, who are now in a three-way logjam in the fifth spot of the South Division with Iloilo and Zamboanga, possessing identical 16-11 cards. Melano delivered 12 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, and a block while Ryusei Koga and Jeff Viernes chipped in 12 and 11 points in the victory. Mark Guillen and Elmer Cabahug, meanwhile, led Navotas with 13 points apiece. The Unipak Sardines-backed squad dropped to a 7-21 standing in the North Division. In the earlier game, San Juan-Go for Gold averted a major collapse, escaping gutsy Iloilo, 70-67. With his team down by 12 points in the final frame, IloIlo’s Rey Publico poured in five points in a crucial 12-1 blast including a putback which sliced the Knights’ lead to a solitary point, 67-68, with 59 seconds remaining in the game. The Royals then forced a shot clock violation on the defending champions which paved the way for a floater from Aaron Jeruta which, unfortunately, was blocked by Mike Ayonayon. Jhonard Clarito, who was fouled by Alfrancis Tamsi with 3.2 seconds left, drained two clutch free throws to give San Juan a three-point cushion. Publico missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with 2.4 ticks which spelled doom for IloIlo. “Sabi ko nga, a win is a win. Pero siyempre, IloIlo ‘yan. May sistema, lahat kumpleto, coaching staff, players. Bigay ko yung credit sa kanila, ready talaga sila buti na lang na-shoot ni Jhonard [Clarito] yung huli,” said San Juan head coach Randy Alcantara. Clarito pumped in 22 points, eight rebounds, and four steals for the league-leading San Juan, who now stands at 24-3 in the Northern Division – a game behind second-running Manila-Frontrow. John Wilson chipped in 12 points on a horrid 4-of-17 clip laced with eight rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Orlan Wamar also had 12 markers while Ayonayon finished the game with 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Former Letran stalwart Publico finished with a double-double performance of 17 points and 10 rebounds for the 16-11 IloIlo, who is now tied with Zamboanga-Family’s Brand Sardines for the fifth spot in the South Division. Richard Escoto provided 13 points, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals while Tamsi had 10 points and four rebounds in a losing effort. In the first contest, behind the all-around brilliance of Mark Cruz, Pampanga sealed its playoff berth after handing the also-ran Rizal-Xentro Mall a 20-point beating, 90-70. The pint-sized Cruz stuffed the stat sheet with a triple-double of 10 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, helping Pampanga forge a two-way tie with Bulacan in the fourth spot of the North Division with identical 18-9 win-loss cards. Already up by 12 points entering the second half, Pampanga unleashed an 18-8 rally capped off by Reil Cervantes three-pointer to chalk up its biggest lead of the ball game at 23, 58-35, in the 3:52 mark of the third period. Rizal was able to cut it to 12 via a Buenaventura Raflores three-pointer with 2:34 in the fourth frame, 67-79, but it’s the closest they could get as Raymond Binuya, Mark Cruz, and Dan Alberto slammed the doors with an 8-2 spurt. “Ang target namin is to go one game at a time, try to win as much as we can hanggang matapos kasi nag po-positioning tayo e sa positioning ngayon e. Sakin, kahit sino ang makalaban namin ang importante ay gawin namin yung part namin,” said Pampanga head coach Bong Ramos Michale Juico spearheaded the Giant Lanterns’ offensive assault with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field on top of eight rebounds and two assists while Levi Hernandez added 14 points. Rizal – who dropped to a 4-21 standing also in the North Division – was led by Kelvin Gregorio with 21 points and eight rebounds. Golden Coolers team captain Mark Benitez chipped in 10 markers and five boards. The Scores: FIRST GAME Pampanga (90) – Juico 19, Hernandez 14, Cruz 10, Cervantes 9, Maiquez 9, Baltazar 7, Binuya 7, Gomez 6, Muyang 4, Alberto 3, Acuno 2, Baltazar 0, Enriquez 0, Fabian 0, Salcedo 0 Rizal-Xentro Mall (70) – Gregorio 21, Benitez 10, Raflores 9, Hoyohoy 7, Leynes 5, Casajeros 5, Saliente 5, Bacay 3, Regalado 3, Butel 0, Raflores 0, Rosales 0 Quarterscores: 15-18, 39-27, 66-47, 90-70 SECOND GAME San Juan-Go-for-Gold (70) – Clarito 22, Wilson 12, Wamar 12, Ayonayon 11, Aquino 8, Rodriguez 4, Bunag 1, Victoria 0, Reyes 0, Isit 0, Subido 0, Estrella 0, Tajonera 0 IloIlo-United (67) – Publico 17, Escoto 13, Tamsi 10, Prado 7, Jaboneta 4, Arambulo 4, Jeruta 3, Gumaru 3, de Joya 3, Mahari 0, Rodriguez 0, Pantin 0, Racho 0 Quarterscores: 16-20, 42-33, 61-51, 70-67 THIRD GAME Batangas City-Athletics (72) – Suerte 14, Melano 12, Koga 12, Viernes 11, Olivares 7, Grimaldo 5, Santos 4, Sara 3, Tungcab 3, Bragais 2, Rogado 0 Navotas-Unipak Sardines (68) – Guillen 13, Cabahug 13, Taywan 11, Gonzales 6, Melegrito 5, Bondoc 5, Abdurasad 5, Matillano 4, Andaya 4, Bautista 2, Evangelista 0, Prudente 0 Quarterscores: 17-10, 34-31, 51-58, 72-68.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2020

MPBL: Wilson establishes new record as San Juan rules North

John Wilson’s milestone game highlighted San Juan-Go-for-Gold’s 109-99 rout of Pasig-Sta. Lucia in the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Cup at the FilOil Flying V Centre, Saturday. Wilson, who only needed four points to reach the 1000-point club heading to this game, drained a three-pointer in the 4:35 mark of the first quarter to become the first player to achieve the feat. He now has 1,020 total points in his tally. The product of Jose Rizal University ended the match 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists to help San Juan keep the title as the Kings of the Northern Division with a 22-3 record. “Kay John, siyempre nakita naman namin na talagang masipag yung bata. Talagang tinrabaho niya yung nakuha niya ngayon, he deserves yung pagkakakuha niya sa achievement na ‘yon,” said San Juan head coach Randy Alcantara. After a tight first quarter, the Knights rallied behind Wilson and Mike Ayonayon, who then led a 15-6 swing in the second quarter which proved to be the difference-maker as it helped the home team take an 11-point lead, 56-45, heading into the second half. The Go-for-Gold-backed squad kept their distance from there, dousing water on the Realtors’ comeback attempts. Ayonayon provided 18 points, eight boards, and five assists while Art Aquino and Orlan Wamar added 12 points apiece for San Juan. The Knights also made it rain from deep, shooting 17-of-33 from three-point distance. On the other hand, Jeric Teng’s 31 points, nine rebounds, and six assists went down the drain as Pasig went down to 14-11, tied with Caloocan in the seventh spot also in the Northern Division. In the earlier contest, Bacolod-Master Sardines pumped life into to its playoff chances after outlasting Basilan-Jumbo Plastic, 96-89. Pao Javelona dropped 21 points, five rebounds, and five assists for the Masters Sardines-owned club -- who moved up to the 11th spot of the Southern Division with a 9-16 card, four games behind eight-running Bicol. "We're not thinking of our chances, what we're doing right now is to play and enjoy also to win as much as we can," said Bacolod head coach Vic Ycasiano. Down by seven points in the final canto, Allyn Bulanadi drilled a three-pointer while Jay Collado converted an and-one play to make it a two-point game for Basilan, 75-77, with 5:49 remaining. Through Ben Adamos and Yankie Haruna, Bacolod managed to widen their lead to six points. Bulanadi and Irven Palencia trimmed the deficit to two once more for Basilan, but Jeric Cañada and Javelona drained consecutive three-pointers, 89-81, to fend off the pesky Steel with under two minutes left. Jess Villahermosa had 15 points while Cañada provided 14 markers founded on four triples. Meanwhile, Bulanadi's 33-point explosion went to waste as Basilan went down to 16-10 and is now tied in the fourth slot with Zamboanga, also in the Southern Division. In the first game, behind Gab Banal’s all-around brilliance, Bacoor City stretched its winning streak to six games after dealing Muntinlupa-Angelis Resort a rough 98-67 beating. Banal posted 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists to help Bacoor tighten its hold of the second spot in the Southern Division with a 21-5 standing. The Strikers opened the flood gates right from the first whistle, taking a 27-14 lead in the opener before ending the first half with a 52-29 advantage. Looking to close things out, Banal ignited a 10-0 run by draining a three-pointer then dishing out a perfect half-court lob to Ian Melencio. Ken Mark Miranda capped off the spurt with a four-point play, chalking up Bacoor’s biggest lead of the game at 34, 98-64 with 3:07 left in the game. “We just need to stay steady, stay humble and hungry, just keep putting the work and trusting the work. The result will show,” said Bacoor head coach Chris Gavina as he hopes that his wards can sustain their momentum throughout the elimination round. Oping Sumalinog and RJ Ramirez added 13 points apiece, with both drilling three three-pointers each while Mark Montuano chipped in 10 markers. Meanwhile, Jamil Ortouste paced the Cagers – who dropped to 7-20 also in the Southern Division – with 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field.   The Scores: FIRST GAME Bacoor City (98) – Banal 13, Sumalinog 13, Ramirez 13, Canete 11, Montuano 10, Melencio 7, Acidre 6, Mabulac 6, Aquino 6, Acuna 4, Miranda 4, Ochea 3, Andaya 2, Malabag 0 Muntinlupa-Angelis Resort (67) – Ortouste 21, Moralde 10, Ylagan 9, Enguio 7, Mag-isa 7, Rebugio 7, Salaveria 2, Pamulaklakin 2, Po 2, Reyes 0, Buenaflor 0, Gonzales 0 Quarterscores: 27-14, 52-29, 77-52, 98-67 SECOND GAME Bacolod-Masters Sardines (96) -- Javelona 21, Villahermosa 15, Cañada 14, Haruna 14, Adamos 11, Camacho 8, Custodio 6, Gayosa 4, Tansingco 3, Charcos 0 Basilan-Jumbo Plastic (89) -- Bulanadi 33, Collado 15, Dagangon 9, Lunor 6, Bautista 6, Palencia 4, Gabo 3, Alanes 3, Sorela 3, Dumapig 3, Hallare 2, Balucanag 2, Manalang 0 Quarterscores: 18-28, 48-53, 72-67, 96-89 THIRD GAME San Juan-Go for Gold (109) – Wilson 24, Ayonayon 18, Aquino 12, Clarito 12, Wamar 12, Rodriguez 7, Tajonera 6, Ubalde 4, Victoria 3, Subido 3, Bonifacio 2, Reyes 2, Isit 2, Estrella 2, Bunag 0 Pasig-Sta. Lucia (99) – Teng 31, Najorda 21, Nimes 17, Gotladera 13, Manalang 8, Mendoza 7, Velchez 2, Medina 0, Chavenia 0 Quarterscores: 25-23, 56-45, 80-69, 109-99.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2020

Texans roar past Bills for 22-19 win in OT

By Kristie Rieken, Associated Press HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s teammates talked all week about how they never feel as if they’re out of any game when No. 4 is on the field. On Saturday Watson showed why the Houston Texans have so much trust in him, when the quarterback’s dazzling performance late after a tough start led them to a playoff victory. Watson spun out of a would-be sack and coolly completed a pass that set up the winning field goal in overtime as the Texans rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit for a 22-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs. DeAndre Hopkins was asked to describe Watson’s play on Saturday to somebody who might have missed the game. “I hope everyone watched this today, but he's amazing,” Hopkins said. “You can't put too many words on it.” Both teams punted on their first possessions of overtime — the first extra period in an AFC wild-card game since January 2012. On Houston’s next drive, Watson evaded a sack by wriggling away from one defender and bouncing off another before rolling out to find Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard reception to set up first-and-goal. Watson flexed both arms as the crowd at NRG Stadium went wild — knowing their team was in position to pull off another comeback win to Houston's playoff history. “I told myself to stay up. I mean, it's do-or-die now. I just had to make the play,” Watson said. Ka'imi Fairbairn then kicked a 28-yard field goal to lift Houston to the victory. The Texans (11-6) advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend where they’ll face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Texans got a boost from the return of J.J. Watt, who had a sack that helped spark his team. Houston scored 19 straight points to take the lead before Stephen Hauschka’s 47-yard field goal tied it with 5 seconds left to force overtime. “We never quit, regardless,” Watson said. “Whatever it takes to get the win. I mean, we're going to keep fighting.” Watt was wowed by the play of Watson. “The play he made at the end of the game — nobody makes that play,” he said. “The guy’s unbelievable. I’m very thankful and lucky to have him as my quarterback. That’s why you play the whole game.” It was Watt's first game after sitting out since October with a torn pectoral muscle. “This is why you come back,” Watt said. “I don't know if I meant to come back for these many plays or this much extra time, but these feelings, these emotions, these fans, these players, Deshaun Watson and all the guys on this team, this is why you come back.” The win gives the Texans their first playoff victory since the 2016 season and extends Buffalo’s postseason losing streak to six games, with their most recent playoff win coming in 1995. It’s the first wild-card overtime game since the Broncos beat the Steelers 29-23 in the 2011 season. The game conjured memories of another huge comeback in a wild-card game. The last time teams from Houston and Buffalo met in the playoffs it was in a game that is known as “The Comeback.” The Bills set an NFL record for the largest comeback in NFL history by rallying from a 32-point deficit for a 41-38 overtime win against the Houston Oilers in a wild-card game in 1993. This time Josh Allen and the Bills (10-7) used a dominant first half to build a 13-point lead and were up 16-0 in the third quarter, before Allen began to struggle. “He was just trying to do too much and getting a little bit extreme with what he felt like we needed at the time,” coach Sean McDermott said. “But overall, we just didn’t make enough plays.” Watson had 247 yards passing and ran for 55 yards and Hopkins had 90 yards receiving. Watson led the Texans to the victory despite being sacked seven times, led by three from Jerry Hughes, and hit 12 other times. Allen threw for 264 yards, ran for 92 and caught a touchdown pass on a trick play in the first quarter, but often looked rattled late in his playoff debut. Houston couldn’t get anything going on offense before halftime and had 81 yards in a first half where Hopkins didn’t catch a pass for the first time since Week 16 of the 2017 season. They were finally able to sustain a drive on their second possession of the third quarter when Hopkins had receptions of 14 and 10 yards to help move the ball. The Texans cut the lead to 10 when Watson dragged two defenders into the end zone on a 20-yard touchdown run. Watson then dived into the end zone for a 2-point conversion that got Houston within 16-8 with about two minutes left in the third. The Bills were driving early in the fourth quarter when Allen was sacked by Whitney Mercilus and fumbled, and it was recovered by Jacob Martin at the Buffalo 47. Houston cashed in on the miscue with a 41-yard field goal that cut the lead to 16-11 with about 11 minutes to go. Watson connected with Carlos Hyde on a 5-yard touchdown pass and Hopkins on a 2-point conversion with about five minutes left to put the Texans on top 19-16. Hopkins had a 41-yard reception earlier in that drive. The Bills were in field-goal range on their next drive when Allen got a 14-yard penalty for intentional grounding and Buffalo lost a down to bring up fourth down. They went for it and Allen was sacked by Jacob Martin for a 19-yard loss to give Houston the ball back with 1:41 left. “We didn’t execute how we should have, and we didn’t make as many plays as we should have,” Allen said. “That’s what it really comes down to. They made one more play than us.” The Texans trailed 13-0 at halftime and Hopkins fumbled on their opening drive of the third quarter to give Buffalo the ball at the Houston 32. Watt sacked Allen for a loss of 8 yards on third down and the Bills settled for a 38-yard field goal to extend the lead to 16-0. Allen scrambled 42 yards for a first down on Buffalo’s first possession for its longest rush of the season. Two plays later, the Bills used some trickery to take the lead when John Brown threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Allen to make it 7-0. Brown’s pass was wobbly, but Allen was wide open despite having to slow down to grab it. It was early in the second quarter when Allen appeared to fumble, and it was recovered by Houston. But the play was reviewed and overturned, giving Buffalo the ball at the Houston 32. The Bills were unable to move the ball after that and made a 40-yard field goal to make it 10-0. The Bills added another 40-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to push the lead to 13-0 at halftime. NOT SO FAST Houston’s DeAndre Carter looked to have made a major mistake when caught the opening kickoff of the second half in the end zone and tossed the ball toward a referee without taking a knee. The Bills scooped it up and thought they had scored a touchdown on the play. But the play was reviewed, and it was determined that Carter “gave himself up” so it was called a touchback and Houston kept the ball. WATT’S HEALTH Watt was pleasantly surprised with how good he felt on Saturday in his return from injury. But there was one moment where he was a bit worried that his surgically repaired pectoral muscle wouldn’t hold up. As he was about to dive to try and grab Allen, he wondered if that could be the moment where he was re-injured. “But I dove and landed right on it, popped up, checked it out and looked over at the doctor who was standing like 10 feet away,” he said. “And I was like: ‘It’s all right.’” UP NEXT Bills: Season over. Texans: Advance to divisional round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2020

Doncic has 9th triple-double of season, Mavs rout Warriors

By The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Luka Doncic had 31 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds in his ninth triple-double of the season and the Dallas Mavericks routed the Golden State Warriors 141-121 on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time). Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 25 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 18 and Seth Curry added 17 off the bench for the Mavericks. They snapped the Warriors' four-game winning streak. D’Angelo Russell had 30 points and eight 3-pointers in the first half but injured his neck after falling and colliding with Dwight Powell during the third quarter. Russell returned for the start of the fourth, but the Warriors were down by 19 at that point. He finished with 35 points and six assists and shot 13 for 21. The Mavericks pulled away when Russell was out, outscoring the Warriors 45-24 in the third quarter. Hardaway made a deep 3 with 6:55 left in the third to give the Mavericks an eight-point lead that would only grow as the game went on. HEAT 117, 76ERS 116, OT MIAMI (AP) — Jimmy Butler made the second of two free throws with 2.3 seconds left in overtime, giving Miami a wild victory over Philadelphia. Butler finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to help improved its NBA-best home record to 15-1 and move back into second place in the Eastern Conference. He was fouled by Al Horford as he tried a jumper for the lead, missed the first foul shot and then connected on the second. Tobias Harris had a good look at a 3-pointer as time expired, but his shot from the right corner hit the rim and bounced away. Miami got a one-point win for the second straight night, after topping Indiana at home Friday. Philadelphia lost by one for the second straight night, after falling at Orlando on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) — the first time the 76ers have lost consecutive games by a single point since Jan. 25 and 27, 1995. Joel Embiid had 35 points and 11 rebounds for Philadelphia. RAPTORS 113, CELTICS 97 BOSTON (AP) — Kyle Lowry scored 30 points, Serge Ibaka had 20 and Toronto snapped Boston’s five-game winning streak. Patrick McCaw and Fred VanVleet each added 18 points to help defending champion Toronto avenge a loss on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time) and send Boston to its second loss in 15 games at home this season. Kemba Walker led the Celtics with 30 points, and Jaylen Brown had 17. Playing their first game since losing by 16 to the Celtics on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) — the first NBA game in Canada on Christmas — the Raptors never trailed in breaking a two-game losing streak. Toronto was without two of its top four scorers due to injuries — Pascal Siakam (groin) and Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation). The Raptors also were missing center Marc Gasol (left hamstring). All three were injured Dec. 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time) at Detroit. ROCKETS 108, NETS 98 HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 44 points and 10 rebounds and Houston built a big early lead and withstood a late rally from Brooklyn. Houston has won five of six games, with its only loss coming against Golden State on Christmas (Dec. 26, PHL time). Russell Westbrook and the Nets’Taurean Prince were both ejected with about 20 seconds to go when they started yelling at each other after Prince fouled Westbrook. Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 17 points and 11 assists. BUCKS 111, MAGIC 110 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 21 points and NBA-leading Milwaukee overcame Giannis Antetokounmpo's absence for the second straight night. Antetokounmpo, the NBA MVP last season, also missed the Bucks' victory Friday (Saturday, PHL time) in Atlanta because of back soreness. Middleton also had seven assists and five rebounds to help the Bucks improve to 29-5 overall and 16-2 at home. Ersan Ilyasova, starting in place of Antetokounmpo, had 17 points and 14 rebounds. Evan Fournier led Orlando with 23 points. NUGGETS 119, GRIZZLIES 110 DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored a season-high 31 points and had 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his seventh triple-double of the season and 35th overall, leading Denver past Memphis. Will Barton added 20 points and Jamal Murray and Mason Plumlee each had 15 to help the Nuggets win for the eighth time in nine games. Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 20 points. BULLS 116, HAWKS 81 CHICAGO (AP) — Lauri Markkanen had 25 points, Zach LaVine added 19 and Chicago nearly led wire-to-wire against short-handed Atlanta. Battling an illness and questionable until a few hours before the game, Markkanen was 8 for 14 from the field, making 4 of 9 3-pointers. The Bulls have has won three of four. John Collins had 34 points for the NBA-worst Hawks. They have dropped 10 straight for the second time this season. PELICANS 120, PACERS 98 NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 24 points, Jrue Holiday added 20 and New Orleans won its third straight. JJ Redick scored 15 points, and Lonzo Ball added 13 for New Orleans. Aaron Holiday scored 25 points for Indiana. KNICKS 107, WIZARDS 100 WASHINGTON (AP) — Julius Randle scored 30 points and equaled a season high with 16 rebounds, Bobby Portis added 17 points and New York. It was the Knicks' second straight victory, just the second time this season they've won two straight. Both wins have come on the road. Isaiah Thomas and Jordan McRae each scored 20 points for Washington. SPURS 136, PISTONS 109 SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan had 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 25 points and 12 rebounds and San Antonio hit a season-high 18 3-pointers. San Antonio was 18 for 35 from 3-point range, including a career-high five by Aldridge. San Antonio set a season-high with 42 points in the third quarter, fueled by a 25-9 run. Andre Drummond had 21 points and 18 rebounds for Detroit. SUNS 112, KINGS 110 SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Devin Booker had 32 points and 10 assists and Phoenix held off Sacramento to snap an eight-game losing streak. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 20 points and 16 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio had 21 points and eight assists. Buddy Hield scored 23 points for Sacramento. The Kings have lost six straight. CAVALIERS 94, TIMBERWOLVES 88 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Darius Garland and Collin Sexton each scored 18 points and Cleveland overcame an NBA season high-tying 29 turnovers to hold off Minnesota. Tristan Thompson added 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. Jeff Teague scored 18 points for Minnesota. LAKERS 128, TRAIL BLAZERS 120 PORTLAND, Ore (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points, LeBron James had 21 points and 16 assists, and Los Angeles Lakers snapped a season-long four-game losing streak. Kuzma highlighted a strong performance by the Lakers' reserves, who provided 72 bench points. Portland’s bench scored 36 points. Anthony Davis added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers. Damian Lillard had a game-high 31 points for Portland, which dropped its third straight. Hassan Whiteside had 19 points and 16 rebounds. JAZZ 120, CLIPPERS 107 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points, Jordan Clarkson added 19 points in his second game with his new team, and Utah beat the Clippers. Clarkson, who was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), came off the bench to shoot 7 of 13 from the field. The Jazz shot 48.6% from 3-point range to win for the seventh time in eight games. Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points and Paul George added 19 for the Clippers. The Jazz scored the last 11 points of the game to seal the victory, holding the Clippers scoreless over the final 3:35. The Clippers made just four field goals in the fourth quarter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 29th, 2019

Simone Soars: Biles named 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year

By Will Graves, Associated Press They’re called “Simone Things,” a catchall phrase for the casual ease with which Simone Biles seems to soar through her sport and her life. The irony, of course, is that there’s nothing casual or easy about it. Any of it. The greatest gymnast of all time and 2019 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year only makes it seem that way. Those jaw-dropping routines that are rewriting her sport's code of points and redefining what can be done on the competition floor? Born from a mix of natural talent, hard work and a splash of ego. The 25 world championship medals, the most by any gymnast ever? The result of a promise the 22-year-old made to herself when she returned to competition in 2017 after taking time off following her golden run at the 2016 Olympics. The stoicism and grace she has shown in becoming an advocate for survivors — herself included — and an agent for change in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that’s shaken USA Gymnastics to its core? The byproduct of a conscious decision to embrace the immense clout she carries. “I realize now with the platform I have it will be powerful if I speak up and speak for what I believe in,” Biles told The Associated Press. “It’s an honor to speak for those that are less fortunate. So if I can be a voice for them in a positive manner, then of course I’m going to do whatever I can.” And it's that mission — combined with her otherworldly skill and boundless charisma — that's enabled Biles to keep gymnastics in the spotlight, a rarity for a sport that typically retreats into the background once the Olympic flame goes out. She is the first gymnast to be named AP Female Athlete of the Year twice and the first to do it in a non-Olympic year. Biles edged U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe in a vote by AP member sports editors and AP beat writers. Skiing star Mikaela Schiffrin placed third, with WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne fourth. Biles captured the award in 2016 following a showstopping performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she won five medals in all, four of them gold. She spent most of the following 12 months taking a break before returning to the gym in the fall of 2017, saying she owed it to herself to mine the depth of her talent. Check social media following one of her routines and you’ll find people -- from LeBron James to Michelle Obama to Chrissy Teigen -- struggling to distill what they’ve witnessed into 280 characters or fewer, with whatever they settle on typically followed by multiple exclamation points and a goat emoji, a nod to Biles being considered the Greatest Of All Time. Her triple-twisting double-flip (the “triple double”) at the end of her first tumbling pass on floor exercise is a wondrous blur. Her double-twisting double-flip beam dismount (the “double double”) is so tough the International Gymnastics Federation made the unusual decision to downplay its value in an effort to deter other gymnasts from even trying it. This is both the blessing and the curse of making the nearly impossible look tantalizingly attainable. When Biles learned about the FIG's decision, she vented on Twitter, her palpable frustration highlighting the realness she's maintained even as her first name has become synonymous with her sport's royalty. It can lead to a bit of a balancing act. In some ways, she's still the kid from Texas who just wants to hang out with her boyfriend and her dog and go to the grocery story without being bothered. In other ways, she's trying to be respectful of the world she's built. Take the GOAT thing. It’s a title she embraces — Biles wore a goat-themed leotard during training at the national championships in August — but also takes with a grain of salt, determined to stay grounded even as the hype around her grows. Yes, GOAT happens to be the acronym for her planned post-Olympic “Gold Over America Tour,” but ask her where the inspiration came from and she laughs and gives credit to a friend, Kevin, who came up with it in a group chat. It is both paying tribute to and winking at her status at the same time. Biles has become well aware over the last three years that her every word and action carries far greater weight than she ever imagined. Her most impactful moment of 2019 might not have come during a meet but sitting for an interview on the eve of winning her record sixth national title, when she fought back tears while talking about how USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI failed to protect athletes during an investigation into Nassar's abusive behavior. The moment went viral, as most things surrounding her tend to do these days. “I’m starting to realize it’s not just the gymternet anymore,” Biles said, using the term for her sport's dedicated fans. "It’s an overall thing. It’s weird to get that kind of attention, but at the end of the day, I feel gymnastics has been overlooked in non-Olympic years. Yeah, it puts pressure on me. But I’m not trying to think about all the attention from the outside world.” The attention figures to only grow in the run-up to Tokyo, where she will attempt to become the first female gymnast in more than half a century to repeat as Olympic champion. Her smiling face serves as the exclamation point at the end of every television promo for the Summer Games. Let it be known: The smile is real. That might not have always been the case, but is is now. Heading into the final months of a singular career, she is trying to revel in the journey while anxiously awaiting what's next. Add it to the list of Simone Things. “I feel like this is the beginning of my life and I don’t want gymnastics to be my whole entire life,” she said. “I’m definitely going to soak in the moment and enjoy it so 10 years from now I can look back and say ‘I had the time of my life out there’ ... rather than ‘I was good, but I was miserable.’”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

Suns look to prove mettle after buzz cools down

By Michael C. Wright, NBA.com Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams challenged his squad Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) in the wake of a third consecutive loss, falling 124-121 to the New Orleans Pelicans. “I told our guys, ‘Look, we had a nice run. We got hit in the mouth with injuries. Let’s see what we’re made of,’” he said. Phoenix caught the basketball world by surprise early this season with a 5-2 start, which included wins over the LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers, but the Suns have since fallen on hard times. Having lost three consecutive games, in part due to injuries to point guard Ricky Rubio (back) and center Aron Baynes (hip) altering the club’s style of play, the early-season buzz generated by the team is gone. But the truth is we haven’t seen the Suns at full strength since their season-opening 124-95 win over the Sacramento Kings, a game in which Deandre Ayton registered a double-double (18 points and 11 rebounds) along with four blocks in his only game this season. Ayton received a 25-game suspension by the league after that game for violating the NBA/NBPA anti-drug policy for testing positive for a diuretic. Ayton won’t be eligible to return to action until Dec. 17 (Dec. 18, PHL time), when Phoenix meets the LA Clippers at the Staples Center. So, it’s tough to gauge at this point whether the Suns are indeed the real deal. But Williams isn’t concerned. He prefers that the Suns fly under the radar. “The buzz will die down a bit, and now we can just focus on getting better,” Williams told his team after Thursday’s (Friday, PHL time) loss. “This is the NBA. Our guys are more than able to do what they need to do to get better.” The Suns aren’t sure when Rubio and Baynes will be set to return to action. Rubio has missed two of the team’s last three games, and when he tried to play Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) at Sacramento, the point guard could only will himself through 16 minutes in the first half, shooting 0-for-7 from the field. Baynes has missed two games in a row with Phoenix mired in its first three-game skid of the season. Two of Phoenix’s last three losses came by single-digit margins. “This is kind of our first time hitting adversity, losing three in a row, and now we’re on the road for two tough games back to back, so we’re going to see how we’re going to go out there and play,” said Mikal Bridges, who contributed 12 points to go with six rebounds and three steals in the loss to New Orleans. “I think we’re mentally strong, and we’re together as a team. So, I think we’re going to push through and play hard the next few games, and try to leave out of there with a W. But it’s going to test our mentality to see what we’re going to be right now.” The Suns have struggled defensively over the past two games, most notably at defending the 3-point line. Sacramento knocked down 41.9% from deep on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) against the Suns, while the Pelicans on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) hit on 45.7% from range. Baynes had been filling in during Ayton’s suspension, but Frank Kaminsky has replaced Baynes the last two games as he’s dealt with a strained right hip flexor. Going into the loss to New Orleans, Kaminsky (hip) was listed on the injury report along with Dario Saric (knee) and Cam Johnson (knee). Williams said “you hope” Rubio and Baynes return for the start of Phoenix’s upcoming back-to-back set on the road that starts Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) in Minnesota and concludes Sunday (Monday, PHL time) at Denver. But the team has “got to start planning as if they’re not,” Williams said. Those contests wrap up a stretch of five games in seven nights. “It’s next man up mentality,” said guard Devin Booker, who has connected on 50% or better from the field in 11 of the team’s 14 games. “We’re dealing with a couple injuries right now, and for guys to come in who have just been on the practice court the whole season and get an opportunity to perform it’s a very big time. It’s professionalism at its finest. It says a lot about a person’s character.” As for Ayton, who anxiously awaits his return for suspension, the center can only watch and wait. Provisions of the suspension allow Ayton to practice and travel with the team, but he can’t be in an arena -- home or away -- two hours before game. During the down time, Ayton has been working to refine his shot; most notably his 3-point shot with Suns assistant Mark Bryant. After this latest road trek, the Suns come back home to host Washington and Dallas before hitting the road for four consecutive outings over five nights to start the month of December. So surely, there’s more adversity to come for the young, upstart Suns. “We don’t quit. We compete,” Williams said. “That’s one of our values, our core values. We compete every possession. Sometimes, you can’t always dictate whether the ball goes in, but you can compete every night. I always tell the guys if you do the right thing it will come back to you. It may not come back to you in this game, but over the long haul, you’ll be better for it.” Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 24th, 2019

PVL: Angels dominate Motolite for fourth straight win

PetroGazz took advantage of Motolite losing main scorer Myla Pablo to a foot injury in the second set to eke out a 25-21, 25-16, 28-26, victory and extend its winning streak to four on Sunday in the Premier Volleyball League Season 3 Open Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The trio of Jonah Sabete, Jeanette Panaga and Cherry Nunag spearheaded the Angels’ assault to improve to 5-2 win-loss card tied with BanKo at second spot behind unbeaten Creamline (8-0). Sabete fired 14 points with 12 coming off attacks, Panaga finished with 13 markers while Nunag got 10 points for PetroGazz, which snapped Motolite’s four-game winning streak. The Angels had to weather Motolite’s late rally in the third set after coming back from a 22-24 deficit. Motolite even took two set point advantages before Sabete and Nunag scored back-to-back hits to seal the win. “Siguro ‘yung maturity na lang talaga ng mga players and yung composure ang gumana kanina sa crucial point,” said Angels coach Arnold Laniog. The Angels faced stiff resistance from Motolite in the opening set behind Pablo before hanging tough in the end to take the match lead. Motolite engaged PetroGazz in a see-saw battle in the second before Pablo went down grimacing in pain after hurting her right foot while trying to jump for a kill with her squad trailing, 9-10. Pablo was stretchered off the court and had her foot iced. Initial findings revealed that Pablo suffered a metatarsal sprain and is set to undergo X-Ray and further examinations.    She sat out the remainder of the game and had 10 points including nine kills.   “’Yung moment na nadoon pa siya tralagang unstoppable siya. Sabi ko nga sa mga players, ‘Nababasa natin siya pero bakit di natin mahuli? May time naman na once maka-establish tayo ng block natsi-check natin pero kapag di naka-establish ang taas ng porsyento na makapatay,’” said Laniog. “’Yun nga nangyari ang di natin inaasahan siguro nag-favor na lang sa amin. Although ayaw natin, tinake advantage na lang ng mga players namin na nawalan sila [ng main scorer],” he added. “Si Myla di talaga bumababa ng 20 points every game kumbaga nawala ang no. 1 main scorer nila.” Tots Carlos got 10 markers while Isa Molde and Bern Flora had seven each for Motolite, which slid to 4-2 card.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 8th, 2019

Hall of Fame: Jack Sikma s reverse pivot clears lane to induction

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- When Jack Sikma officially enters the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), one of his presenters will be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Which is a terrific example of game recognizing game. Or in this case, move recognizing move. Just as Abdul-Jabbar ranks as the NBA’s most prolific scorer and arguably its greatest player ever, so does his signature sky hook loom as the league’s most famous individual move. Most unstoppable, too, and for defenders, most deflating. Well, Sikma had a signature move of his own, one that helped elevate him from an NAIA program at Illinois Wesleyan to seven NBA All-Star appearances, a championship with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979 and now to the brink of his craft’s highest honor. It was the reverse pivot or inside pivot, which were its names when it was an arcane maneuver used by a small number of big men, taught mostly at the sport’s lower levels. Once Sikma learned it in 1974, brought it with him to the NBA in 1977 and helped the Sonics reach The Finals as a rookie and win the championship a year later, though, it swiftly became known as his: The Sikma move. “It was just an experiment after my freshmen season,” Sikma said Thursday (Friday, PHL time) at the Hall, after being introduced at a news conference as one of the Class of 2019’s 12 honorees. Others being inducted this weekend: coach Bill Fitch; NBA stars Bobby Jones, Sidney Moncrief and Paul Westphal; as well as WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon. Longtime Warriors player, coach and executive Al Attles was elected as a contributor. NBA center and current Sacramento GM Vlade Divac was chosen by the international committee. Being honored posthumously are: guard Carl Braun, a star in the 1950s; and Chuck Cooper, the first black player drafted by an NBA team (Boston, 1950). Finally, there are two college team entries: the Wayland Baptist women’s teams from 1948-82 and the Tennessee A&I teams from 1957-59. Divergent paths, compelling stories all. Including the one about the slender, blond kid from Kankakee, Illinois, whose offensive game needed a makeover. “My college coach [Dennie Bridges] and I sat down and he said, ‘Jack, you’ve just got to be more effective in the post if you want to take the next step.’ I was a good shooter – I’d learned the game as a wing and grew late, so I was comfortable facing the basket. “He had a friend who suggested, ‘Hey, down in southern Illinois there are some coaches who do an inside pivot with their guys to face the hoop. It might create a little space for Jack.’ I was really thin – I just wanted to get dislodged from the defender.” Basically, Sikma choreographically held a mirror to the post-up moves of traditional centers of the time. Holding the ball with his back to the basket, rather than turning on his pivot foot to the outside and attacking over his shoulder, he would spin to the inside. That motion would set up him a few feet back, facing the hoop, allowing for a simple hop and shot. And then there's this priceless Hubie Brown interview, in which Sikma teaches the move:  “A lot of coaches would pooh-pooh it because you’re catching the ball in one spot and then you’re stepping three feet farther away from the basket,” Sikma said. “That’s not the concept of big-men play, right? But I’ve got to hand it to Coach. He said, ‘Jack, I think this is it.’ And I said, ‘I’m not uncomfortable with the pivot.’” Sikma went from averaging 15.4 points as a freshman to 20.3 as a sophomore, with his shots increasing from 14.5 per game to 17.9. By his senior season, he averaged 27.0 points. As Sikma honed it in the NBA, at 6-foot-11, he would hold the ball above his head with a high release point that gave him the option of flipping up his shot or faking, then powering inside. In 14 seasons, by Sikma’s count, he played against 15 Hall of Fame centers, including Abdul-Jabbar. So he wanted every edge he could get. “You didn’t know which way he was going to go with it,” said fellow inductee Bobby Jones, a Sikma contemporary known for his defensive prowess. “Most of the time he would go back and shoot that shot, but sometimes he would go forward and draw the contact. I was just sitting there thinking, with all the other [inductees], if I ever blocked his shot. And I don’t think I ever did.” Jones, at 6-foot-9, matched up with him early in Sikma’s career (when Sikma was cast as a power forward for Seattle). Later, Jones had to decide how much help to give the teammate guarding Sikma. “The only thing I could ever have done was maybe come from behind and get him,” Jones said. “But he was a pretty good passer too. To ever leave your man that much, there’s a danger there.” Opponents weren’t the only ones made uncomfortable by Sikma’s unusual tactic. “I know I surprised some of the officials because I got called for traveling a few times,” Sikma said. “And I said, ‘Nope, I’m not traveling. I’ve got my foot up in the air, I plant it and then I pivot on it. By stepping out, that creates the space.’ “So even though it was a long time ago, they had film. They checked it out and they realized it wasn’t a walk. But I got called two or three times doing it.” Sikma laughed, recalling chatty Sonics teammate Fred Brown pleading his case for him to some of the referees. “I’d get called and Fred was in the ref’s face, ‘That’s his move! That’s his move! It’s not a travel,” Sikma said. “Fred had seen it enough in practice and figured it out.” Sikma had another facet to his game with which current NBA fans might be more familiar: he was a protypical “stretch 5.” Said Sidney Moncrief, another 2019 Hall newcomer who played for Milwaukee before and after Sikma was traded there for his final five seasons: “People don’t remember this about Jack Sikma, but Don Nelson was the first coach who started emphasizing 3-point shots for big men. He put Jack on the perimeter to take the big men out of the lane so we could make plays.” Not unlike current Bucks center Brook Lopez, Sikma underwent a late-career transformation as a deep threat. In his first 11 seasons, Sikma took 68 3-pointers and made seven (10.3 percent). During his final three seasons – from age 33 to 35 – Sikma shot 550 times from behind the arc and made 196 (35.6 percent). Still, it’s the quick inside step about 10 feet from the hoop that puts Sikma in a select subset of Hall of Famers already enshrined and those who will be. Call it the Alcove of Famous Moves. Hakeem Olajuwon’s “Dream Shake,” Kevin McHale’s up-and-under, George Gervin’s finger roll, Dominique Wilkins’ double-pump reverse, Allen Iverson’s crossover, Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway and Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook will be joined, in time, by James Harden’s step-back 3-pointer, Manu Ginobili’s Euro-step, LeBron James’ chase-down block and Steph Curry’s long range pull-up 3. Each became or has become a signature move. But that only matters if the idea works. “They made it look good, so it was effective,” Sikma said. “If I tried to do the sky hook, if I tried to do the up-and-under, you’d probably think, ‘Meh, that’s not such a good move.’ A lot of it has to do with how effective a person is doing it.” The 2019 Enshrinement Ceremony at Springfield’s Symphony Hall will air on NBA TV Friday (Saturday, PHL time) beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 6th, 2019

RC Calimag erupts all the way up to top spot of NCAA NBTC 24

The La Salle Green Hills Greenies have been on a tear in the early going of the NCAA Season 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament. Through five games, they’ve risen to the top of the team standings with a 4-1 slate, anchored by a three-game winning streak.  Much to do with the Greenies’ success has been veteran scorer RC Calimag, earning for him the no. 1 spot in the second rankings reveal of the Phenom NBTC NCAA 24. The graduating swingman garnered an average of 28.0 points and 5.0 rebounds after LSGH's victories over Mapua, San Sebastian, and San Beda. His most recent scoring exploit was a 30-point masterpiece, all while going 6-of-7 from deep, against the previously undefeated Red Cubs. Barging his way to the second spot and making his debut in the rankings is the Greenies' Jan Manansala. A steady presence in the paint, Manansala posted gaudy numbers of 15.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in their three consecutive victories.  San Beda’s Rhayyan Amsali settled for third place in the rankings while Mapua’s Jonnel Policaprio is fourth after immediately making his felt presence felt in his return for the Red Robins. He had a 20-point, 11-rebound outing in a loss to LSGH then followed it up with a near triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds, and nine assists in a win over Letran. Rounding out the top five is JRU's Gholam Garcia and then Perpetual’s Emman Galman is at sixth, Lyceum’s Mac Guadana is at seventh, San Beda's Yukien Andrada is at eighth, Lyceum's John Barba is at ninth, and Perpetual's Shawn Orgo is at 10th. Here is the complete list of the second Phenom NBTC NCAA 24 rankings: 1. RC Calimag (LSGH) (15) 2. Jan Manansala (LSGH) (N/A) 3. Rhayyan Amsali (SBU) (2)  4. Jonnel Policarpio (MU) (N/A)  5. Gholam Garcia (JRU) (4)  6. Emman Galman (UPHSD) (5)  7. Mac Guadana (LPU) (1)  8. Yukien Andrada (SBU) (12)  9. John Barba (LPU) (6)  10. Shawn Orgo (UPHSD) (14)  11. Milo Janao (SSCR) (16)  12. Lennox Valenzuela (LSGH) (N/A)  13. Darren Nepomuceno (AU) (N/A)  14. Condrad Famaranco (JRU) (8)  15. Dylan Darbin (SSCR) (N/A) J 16. Joshua Ramirez (CSJL) (7)  17. Gyle Montano (LPU) (N/A)  18. Charles Delfino (SBU) (13)  19. Kim Bulasa (SSCR) (N/A)  20. Edzel Galoy (UPHSD) (11)  21. Anthony Fransman (MU) (N/A)  22. Shawn Argente (CSJL) (22) 23.  Jae Omandac (LPU) (3)  24. Megan Galang (MU) (N/A) This year, there will be four separate editions of the NBTC 24 - one for the NCAA, one for the UAAP, one for the CESAFI, and one for all the other venues where the most promising prospects in the country also get to showcase their skills. After all four editions have been completed, a final list composing the top 24 players nationwide will then be chosen to participate in the annual NBTC All-Star Game in March......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 5th, 2019

Kawhi Leonard: 10 things to know

NBA.com staff report Kawhi Leonard has quickly risen from unheralded prospect to global superstar during his eight-year NBA career. With his highly anticipated free agent decision made, here are 10 things to know about the two-time Finals MVP. * * * Raised In California: Kawhi Anthony Leonard was born on June 29, 1991, in Los Angeles, California. He was the youngest of five children with four older sisters. During his freshman year of high school, his mother was out of town for work during his team's basketball tryouts so he missed the session. He played football instead that season and didn't start playing basketball at Canyon Springs High School until his sophomore year. Mr. Basketball: He played his next two seasons at Riverside King, where he went on to win California's Mr. Basketball during his senior year. After the tragic death of his father in 2008, he scored 17 points the next night and broke down in his mother's arms after the game. "Basketball is my life, and I wanted to go out there and take my mind off it," he said postgame. Aztec Legend: Kawhi took his talents to nearby San Diego State University for his collegiate career. He was dominant in college, especially on defense, as he led the Aztecs to back-to-back Mountain West Conference tournament championships. His team reached the Sweet 16 before being eliminated by eventual NCAA Tournament champion UConn during his sophomore season. After the tournament, Kawhi declared his intention to enter the 2011 NBA Draft. Draft Night Deal: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called the decision to trade for Kawhi on Draft night the "toughest" decision he had to make during his 20-plus seasons in San Antonio. The decision was difficult because the Spurs had to part ways with valued young guard George Hill in the deal with the Indiana Pacers. But the move paid off for San Antonio as Kawhi quickly adjusted to the NBA game and showed flashes of star potential. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and earned a spot on the 2012 All-Rookie First Team. Mr. Economical: Despite his early success, Kawhi didn't let his first NBA paychecks steer him away from his frugal ways. During his first few seasons in the NBA, he continued to drive the same Chevy Malibu he drove in college. "It's paid off," he said in 2004. "I don't have a car note on it. It's good on gas. It's a good commuter car if you don't want to drive your luxury car." His friends and family eventually convinced him to buy a Porsche, which he would only drive on gamedays. Daily Grind: Kawhi quickly earned a reputation in San Antonio for his work ethic as he trained alongside legendary Spurs players Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Longtime Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland helped Kawhi perfect his shooting form by having him study the forms of Kobe Bryant and Richard Jefferson. Breakthrough Moment: The hard work paid off for Kawhi as he continued to blossom on the title-contending Spurs. After losing to the Miami Heat in seven games during the 2013 Finals, the Spurs returned to The Finals in 2014 and avenged their defeat with a 4-1 series win over Miami. Kawhi was key for San Antonio with averages of 17.8 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks. At age 22, Kawhi became the third youngest player in NBA history to win Finals MVP and the youngest since Magic Johnson in 1980. Out Of The Spotlight: His rise to fame during the 2014 Finals didn't change his day-to-day mindset. According to Engelland in 2017, "He hasn’t been tricked by any of the NBA glamour or bright lights, big city. A lot of smart, great players have been. You get lost and forget the process, forget why you began to play. With him, it’s like, ‘What’d you do last night?’ ‘Watched a little TV. I was with friends. My mom cooked dinner.’ Those are very common nights for him.” Derailed By Injury: The two-time Defensive Player of the Year enjoyed a relatively injury-free start to his career with the Spurs. But everything changed when he re-aggravated an ankle injury during Game 1 of the 2017 West finals. The injury, and subsequent recovery, forced Kawhi to miss the remainder of the series and all but 9 games during 2017-18. After the season, Kawhi expressed his desire to be traded by the Spurs. He was dealt to the Toronto Raptors on July 18, 2018. Legendary Company: It was a storybook season for Kawhi and the Raptors as he led Toronto to their first NBA championship in franchise history. Kawhi was unstoppable throughout the playoffs with clutch play after play, including an instantly iconic series-winner in the East semifinals. He joined LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVP with two different teams......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

10 NCAA players to watch in Season 95

It’s important to note that half of the players who were picked in the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft were products of the country’s first collegiate sports league. CJay Perez and Robert Bolick have immediately become the cornerstones of Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier, respectively. Javee Mocon, Jesper Ayaay, Michael Calisaan and JP Calvo have all received high praise from the coaches of their new teams. While last season’s heroes are now living their lifelong dreams in the PBA, new stars are looking to shine as NCAA Season 95 opens on July 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. James Kwekuteye (SBU)   If there is one player worthy enough to succeed Bolick as the King Lion of Mendiola, it’s the 6’3” Fil-Canadian shooting guard, James Kwekuteye. As a rookie, Kwekuteye came off the bench for majority of the season and had limited time to really put his talent on display. But, when he did start, particularly in San Beda’s second round game against LPU, Kwekuteye proved that he could be a major threat as he scored a career-high 18 points for the Red Lions, matching the scoring output of Bolick. In that game, Bolick motivated Kwekuteye by saying, “they can’t stop you.” James Kwekuteye introduces himself to Lyceum with 18 big points! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/OQS5eZBTJL — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 18, 2018 As the new starting shooting guard of Coach Boyet Fernandez, Kwekuteye led San Beda in scoring in the 2019 Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season Cup averaging 14.1 points per game.    Evan Nelle (SBU)   Another talented player who didn’t see the floor much last year due to the loaded roster of guards on the San Beda lineup was former NCAA Jrs. Finals MVP Evan Nelle. Evan Nelle repays coach Boyet Fernandez' trust by drilling the early three! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/kpfdsnro2i — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 11, 2018 Nelle was the fourth string point guard behind Bolick, Jo Presbitero and Radge Tongco in Season 94. But, with the graduation of all three aforementioned players, the keys to the Red Lions’ offense has fallen straight into Nelle’s hands. While sharing the backcourt with Kwekuteye, Nelle led San Beda to the 2019 FilOil Championship and averaged a league-best 4.7 assists per contest.    Donald Tankoua (SBU)   Aside from capturing the title in the country’s most prestigious pre-season tournament, Kwekuteye and Nelle were also named to the Mythical Five along with their starting center, Donald Tankoua.  Donald Tankoua drops 23 points to help San Beda end the eliminations on a high note. #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/EUFpXnAt8T — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 23, 2018 The 6’6” Cameroonian big man has always been one of the most consistent players, year in and year out in the NCAA and will continue to be as he plays out his final year of eligibility in Season 95. Because he’s a walking double-double, expect Tankoua to be the early favorite to win MVP.   Mike Harry Nzeusseu (LPU)   Now, if there is anybody who possesses the physical attributes and the numbers to challenge Tankoua’s MVP campaign, it’s LPU’s Mike Harry Nzeusseu. Mike Harry Nzeusseu gets NASTY ???? #NCAASeason94 #NCAAFinals pic.twitter.com/yEAr0ywBPd — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 12, 2018 Nzeusseu ended last season without confirming that he would return to play one more year with the Pirates but his participation in the Fil-Oil tournament tells us that he will be back to anchor the defense of Coach Topex Robinson. And without Perez, the 6’6” center from the Republic of Cameroon will also have to do major damage on the offensive end as well.  Jayson David (LPU)   Jayson David picks Robert Bolick's pocket for the transition finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/Inl17UZbKq — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) November 7, 2017 Back in Season 91, the NCAA added a Most Improved Player trophy to their list of awardees for every basketball tournament. Based on the pre-season, former San Sebastian guard Jayson David has emerged as the frontrunner for that award as he has assumed the starting spot of Perez with LPU. David is no “Baby Beast”, but it seems that Robinson trusts him enough to be a critical piece in the Pirates’ quest to capture that elusive NCAA championship. He averaged 7.3 PPG, 6 RPG and 2.1 APG in the Fil-Oil tourney.   Jeo Ambohot (CSJL)   Another player who seems to have earned the trust of his coach is Jeo Ambohot. Under Coach Jeff Napa, the ‘23 for 23’ Gilas World Cup pool member came off the bench and underachieved, only averaging 7.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Knights in Season 94. Jeo Ambohot can hit this all game long! ???? #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/5NCj7tV7Gt — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 9, 2018 However, under new Letran Head Coach Bonnie Tan, Ambohot was being utilized as the starting center with last year’s Rookie of the Year, Larry Muyang coming off the bench in their pre-season games. Nevertheless, a player like Ambohot should not be happy with his dismal outing last year and should come out stronger in Season 95.    Renato Ular (CSJL)   Here’s a guy you probably haven’t heard about before. His name is Renato Ular. Ring a bell? Probably not. The last time he saw action was during his rookie year in Season 92. Actually, he didn’t even do much back then. He only played in four games in did not score a single point in any of those games. After two years as a spectator, Ular has finally rejoined the Letran lineup and was their best player in the Fil-Oil tournament averaging 9.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The last left-handed legend from Letran was Rey Nambatac. This lefty’s got a long way to go to get on the Sting Rey’s level, but expect him to be one of the Knights' primary attackers this year.   RK Ilagan (SSC-R)   RK Ilagan was FEELING IT from downtown, dropping a new career-high 2??6?? PTS vs Mapua! #NCAASeason94 #GalingNCAA pic.twitter.com/SDIaVmtzCF — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 12, 2018 Speaking of attacking, one player who will be more relentless than he’s ever been this Season 95 is RK Ilagan. The pride of Barrio Fugoso, Tondo, Manila ranked seventh in scoring last year, averaging 15.2 PPG and was the Golden Stags’ leading scorer despite the presence of Calisaan. Coach Egay Macaraya loves a shooter and will continue to give the green light to Ilagan who made more triples (40) than any player in the NCAA in Season 94.    Kent Salado (AU)   Prior to injuring his right knee on October 10, 2017 in an 85-79 Arellano win over SSC-R in Season 93, Kent Salado was one of the most exciting players in the NCAA. The spitfire point guard from Cagayan de Oro was averaging 19.1 PPG (2nd behind Perez) and 5.0 APG (2nd behind Bolick) for the Chiefs, taking over the driver’s seat that Jiovani Jalalon occupied during their run to the Finals in Season 92. Lervin Flores with a nice block, Kent Salado with an even better finish! #NCAASeason93 #NCAAStrong pic.twitter.com/ohK28fFFhS — ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) September 15, 2017 Now that he’s finally had surgery to repair what was eventually revealed to be a torn ACL, Salado is looking to excite fans anew especially since Arellano University will serve as the host of the NCAA for the first time in league history. Justin Gutang (CSB)   Recently, I asked former Arellano Head Coach Jerry Codi?era who he thought had the makings of a star in the NCAA now that the likes of Perez and Bolick are in the pros. The “Defense Minister” immediately mentioned one name: Justin Gutang. The 6’3” Fil-American forward from San Francisco, California had an impressive rookie season, averaging 13.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.3 APG for the Blazers and winning the Slam Dunk contest along the way. Although we haven’t heard much from Gutang in the off-season, the fact that a PBA Legend still has him on his radar means that the kid’s potential cannot be ignored. ?Editor's Note: The list is based on pre-season performances of teams. There are some NCAA teams who have not partcipated in pre-season tournaments nor released line-ups.  ?Catch NCAA Season 95 starting July 7, Sunday, 11:30 am LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, Liga, Liga HD, iWant and via livestream.    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Zion Williamson brings rare potential to New Orleans

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Eventually, as with every NBA Draft, there will be a “re-draft” of the Class of 2019. That’s the irresistible exercise in hindsight from media outlets that rank a particular year’s prospects not on their projected value but on actual demonstrated value five, 10 or more seasons into their professional careers. Some players will rise. Others will fall. “Bust” and “sleeper” tags will be dispersed accordingly. This team or GM will be lauded for an especially savvy selection, that one will be razzed for the quality player or players on whom it whiffed. But the through line of the dreams-come-true event Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Barclays Center, the lone selection that will not or at least should not change, is Zion Williamson. Williamson is the sure thing, the “can’t miss,” consensus No. 1 pick bound for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s a 6'7", 285-pound freshman from Duke whose comps aren’t merely established players currently in the NBA but some of the game’s legends. So think Blake Griffin, sure. But also think LeBron James. And Charles Barkley. And, for that matter, every other wide-body who’s ever played with muscles on muscles, above-the-rim explosiveness, balletic body control and an instantly recognizable game that’s as charismatic as it is freakish. Yeah, awfully small subset. “I’m looking forward to playing against everybody,” Williamson said soon after his selection. “I want to be the best. I feel I have to earn everybody’s respect.” It’s not just a matter of Williamson’s game tickling NBA fans’ fancy, either. He managed, in almost his first official pro moment, to capture a lot of their hearts too. No sooner had Williamson – the first No. 1 pick to be born in this millennium (July 6, 2000) – strode to the stage in his cream-white suit, tugged on a Pelicans draft cap and embraced NBA commissioner Adam Silver, he dropped his guard to let the world share his emotions in the moment. His status as college basketball’s best and his draft position had been established months ago. There was no new mystery as to when his name would be called by Silver at the podium. And yet, when the first ESPN microphone was poked in front of him, with his mother Sharonda Sampson at his side, the big guy lost it. He choked up and blinked back tears, not quite winning that battle. “My mom sacrificed a lot for me,” Williamson said. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.” Several interviews and maybe 20 minutes later, Williamson explained how the horribly kept secret of his No. 1 selection could trigger his response. “Because I love the game of basketball,” he said. “You can hear people say things like, ‘Oh, it was likely I was going to go No. 1.’ But I guess you don’t know until you actually go through it.” What mattered most to Williamson about his mother’s role in his life? “Tough love,” he said. “She was always be the first one to keep it real with me. … She put aside her dreams just so me and my brothers could have a chance at ours.” The love already heading Williamson’s way in New Orleans was less tough and more unconditional at this stage, for the teenager represents a re-birth for a Pelicans franchise rocked by the loss of All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Davis, coincidentally, was the No. 1 pick in 2012 and generally considered the top prospect to hit the Draft before Williamson. But after six-and-a-half seasons and only two trips to the playoffs, Davis asked in December to be traded, despite having more than two-plus seasons left on his contract. David Griffin, the Pelicans' new vice president of basketball operations, had hoped that Williamson’s arrival might convince Davis to stay. When that didn’t happen, Griffin swiftly shifted to Plan B, arranging to trade the discontented big man to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that won’t be official until July. Now New Orleans, which has won just two playoff series in its 17 seasons and failed to qualify 10 times, has a new cornerstone. Williamson figures to be under team control contractually for as long or longer than Davis stuck around, with teammates relocated from L.A. such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to run with him and Pelicans holdovers. “What excites me the most is the fact that they’re young and they’re close to my age,” said Duke’s third No. 1 overall pick (Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011). “So they can help me a lot more, like how to deal with this transition. I think we can build something over there.” The essential block is Williamson, who swept college basketball’s major awards with a game that strains credulity. At 285 pounds, his listed weight is greater than almost every big man in the NBA, but he has quick-twitch speed and thrives in the open court. He can stare down into the rim before slamming home dunks with unnerving ferocity, and he is a deft and willing passer. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30 minutes for the Blue Devils, while making 68 percent of his shots. He and fellow Top 10 picks R.J. Barrett (New York, No. 3) and Cam Reddish (Atlanta, No. 10) helped Duke reach the Elite Eight, with Williamson earning ACC Tournament MVP along the way. He’s not a perfect player – his jump shot and range need work – but he already is working to complement his transition and low-post repertoire. Defensively, Williamson has the motor and mobility to switch assignments and quick hands to dislodge the ball without fouling. As a rebounder, his verticality is matched by, well, his horizontality in controlling the air space above and around him. “His size, his athleticism, his power is visible,” former St. John’s coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Chris Mullin said. “But to me his speed is really incredible from end to end. “I would morph Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp and put them together [as a comparison]. When he gets to the NBA and he plays with that extra space they have in the wide key, he’s going to be a monster.” Williamson arrives with hype – no, make that expectations, because of all he’s shown already on courts around America – that rival what James shouldered when he arrived from high school in 2003. His plan for lugging that responsibility: “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it, because I feel people remember winners.” The selections immediately after Williamson were nearly as predictable, based on intelligence and mock drafts that solidified in the days before the Draft. Murry State guard Ja Morant was chosen by Memphis at No. 2, and Barrett’s ensuing selection by the Knicks delighted their always boisterous fans in the stands at Barclay. The order of the next four choices was jumbled from some predictions. Yet by the time the smoke cleared, sure enough, the seven players projected to come off the board soonest had slotted into the night’s top seven spots. That included Virginia forward De’andre Hunter to Atlanta at No. 4 (via the Lakers, in the aforementioned Davis trade that has yet to be completed), Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland to Cleveland at No. 5, Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver to Minnesota at No. 6 and North Carolina guard Coby White to Chicago at No. 7. Just because there wasn’t a lot of suspense at Barclays didn’t mean there was no intrigue. Much of that came from unusually heavy trade action – all technically unofficial – that had teams moving up, down and all around to snag picks, dump picks or clean up their salary-cap positions in anticipation of free agency that starts June 30. The timing of the Draft, relative to when the NBA’s new business year begins, had players donning caps of teams they’ll never play for, while speaking guardedly about those for whom they really were picked. A reported nine trades impacted draft decisions made in the first round alone. There even was a moment when Morant, in his post-Draft media session, gave a shout-out to veteran Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, whose spot he’ll presumably be taking once Conley’s trade to Utah officially goes through. But there’s no such uncertainty about Williamson, the through line of this year’s class, the true line in his heartfelt reactions Thursday (Friday, PHL time) and broad-shouldered hope of a Big Easy franchise in need. Williamson showed his grasp of the NBA’s and sports’ need for fresh icons, in effect accepting his status as a legend in waiting. “You know, times change,” he said. “That’s why there are so many debates about who people think the greatest players of all time are. If you were in the time of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, you’d probably say one of those two. If you were in the time of Jordan, you’d say Jordan. In our generation, a lot of them say LeBron. “So times changes and I think younger fans like younger players.” You don’t have to be young, though, to have your eye on Zion. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019