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Craft long-term virus game plan

A comprehensive plan is needed to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in the country, according to Senator Richard Gordon. “We need to have a grand plan on how we are going to quell COVID. And that’s going to be anywhere from this year to another four years. It is possible that it will […] The post Craft long-term virus game plan appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource: tribune tribuneJul 12th, 2020

Anthony Davis joins Lakers with championship plans

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Anthony Davis' year of uncertainty finally felt finished when he stood in the Los Angeles Lakers' training complex and proudly held up his new gold jersey while LeBron James looked on approvingly. After months of upheaval around his departure from New Orleans, the superstar forward is looking forward to years of success and stability on the West Coast. Sure, Davis knows the Lakers are rarely stable, and championships are the only success this franchise understands. The six-time All-Star can't wait for the challenge of winning big in the Hollywood spotlight. "The most difficult part for me was just not knowing," Davis said Saturday (Sunday, PHl time). "When it was announced that I was being traded, I don't want to say it was a relief, (but) it was something that I'd thought about for a long time. Obviously it was tough to leave the city I'd been playing in for seven years, but I think it was best for me. "When I found out I'd been traded to the Lakers, I realized it was an unbelievable opportunity for me," he added. "To be here with a wonderful organization, and then to be able to play alongside LeBron and the players that we have now ... to get the opportunity to do that and come here and play for an organization that's all about winning, and winning championships, and that's the only goal, I think that was the biggest thing for me." The Lakers formally acquired Davis this month in one of the biggest moves of the NBA's tumultuous offseason, but this courtship has been happening for much longer. Davis became determined to leave New Orleans last season, and Los Angeles made an in-season run at Davis before eagerly blowing up its young core to get a second game-changing star to play alongside James. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka introduced Davis as "the most dominant young basketball player in the world." "There is no more complete basketball player in the game," Pelinka added. "There is nothing he can't do. He can shoot. He can make plays. He can defend 1 to 5. He can protect the rim. He can handle the ball. His dedication to his craft is unparalleled. To sit here next to him and think he's going to be on our team and he's going to be a pillar in this franchise for many years is just something we're incredibly proud of." The Lakers gave up Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and a slew of draft picks to land Davis one year before he could become an unrestricted free agent. While Pelinka clearly expects Davis to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Lakers, Davis didn't make a declaration of his intentions right away. "Right now, my focus is on this year, and trying to help this organization become a championship team," Davis said. Davis' new jersey will bear a No. 3 after his plan to take his usual No. 23 from James fell through thanks to rules involving jersey supplier Nike, who had already begun planning for next season with James in the No. 23 shirt. Davis will go back to the number he wore in elementary and middle school, although he jokingly said the denial of No. 23 "was pretty hurtful." Davis and James have been kept up to speed on Pelinka's machinations to build a strong roster around them. Davis strongly endorsed the signing of DeMarcus Cousins, his former teammate in New Orleans — and not just because Davis prefers to play as a power forward instead of a center. "I like playing the 4," Davis said to a laughing coach Frank Vogel. "I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. I don't like playing the 5, but if it comes down to it, Coach, I'll play the 5." Pelinka said the Lakers signed Cousins and re-signed JaVale McGee precisely so that Davis wouldn't wear down his body guarding centers. Davis was asked about load management, and he dismissed it: "I'm playing. I'm 26-years-old. I love the game of basketball. I'm ready to play." Davis also waived a $4 million trade kicker in his contract so the Lakers would have cap room to take their failed run at Kawhi Leonard, a move that Pelinka praised as selfless. "Anytime you're able to acquire a player like Kawhi, I think you have to do almost everything to get a guy like that," Davis said. "It didn't work out for us, but I wanted to make sure I did whatever I could to help the team." Basketball-loving Los Angeles is still buzzing after its two teams were turned into immediate contenders during free agency, but they're hardly alone in a league that might have achieved a measure of parity after years of Golden State dominance. While Leonard and Paul George landed with the Clippers, Davis and James are confident about the future ahead for the 16-time NBA champions, who are exponentially more beloved in their hometown than their local rivals. Davis has lived in Los Angeles during the offseason for several years, and he loves everything about it but the traffic. "It's going to be fun," Davis said of the new-look league with its new crop of superstar pairings. "I'm excited about it. I think the league has grown. I think it's better. (With) all the players teaming up and spreading that talent throughout the league, it's going to be a fun season. I like our roster. I like every player that we have, from one through 14." The Lakers have been the worst team in the NBA during their team-record six consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, but Davis and James expect to end those struggles and drought in the year ahead. They're aiming for much more, too. "I know we'll talk about it and do whatever we can to definitely make this team a championship team next season," Davis said, before correcting himself: "This season.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2019

BEST-OF-5 SERIES: The Pingoy Rules Part 1

Pingoy Rule: Never give up. --- Jerie Pingoy is not a disappointment. He is disappointed in himself, no doubt about that, but he is not a disappointment. Not just yet - so he says. "'Di ako susuko na makapag-PBA. I still want to prove to everyone na kaya ko pang makipagsabayan," he said, full of confidence, in a phone interview. "Kasi nakikita ko pa sa sarili kong kaya ko pa eh - as in, kaya ko pa. Sana, sana mabigyan ako ng chance to prove na I'm still worthy." Many dream of playing in the PBA, but only a few get to do so. Even fewer get to do so after going missing in action for more than a year. The last time we saw the 5-foot-9 point guard, he and Adamson University were at the wrong end of the University of the Philippines' breakthrough in 2018. No, that's not right. The last time we actually saw Pingoy was in the now-suspended 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup where he played two games with Karate Kid-Centro Escolar University. "Sa ngayon, I'm trying to come back. Since bata ako, gusto ko mag-PBA, pero sa ngayon, sa nakikita ko sa sarili ko, kailangan ko magdoble-kayod para dun," he said. "Ang hirap pa ngayon, nawala ako ng (higit isang) taon kaya mas lalong dapat ipakita kong worthy akong mapunta dun." In between his last game as a Soaring Falcon and his first one with the Scorpions, indeed, it seemed as if the 25-year-old just went off the grid - something that would have been thought to be impossible years ago when he was still the toast of high school basketball and a hoped-for contributor in collegiate hoops. GOOD OLD DAYS "One of the best players I've ever seen. He was the complete package," Mike Oliver, Pingoy's head coach at Far Eastern University-Diliman, answered when asked to look back at his former ward. Oliver would be one of the few people who would have a good grasp of the top talents at the high school level as he was a champion coach there as well as mentor of Batang Gilas. "It was a transition from Coach Norman [Black] to Coach Bo [Perasol] and we were trying to rebuild the program. He was one of the first recruits talaga that Coach Bo wanted," Kiefer Ravena, Pingoy's teammate in Ateneo de Manila University, answered when asked to recall one of the prized prospects he helped recruit. Ravena would be one of the people who would know a thing or two about the Blue Eagles' recruitment plans in the early '10s as, of course, playing with him would have been one of the reasons why a player would want to wear blue and white. "We're just scratching the surface of what he can do right now. If he will just follow what we're trying to teach him, he will be a better all-around player," Franz Pumaren, shot-caller at Adamson University where Pingoy transferred to, said right after one of the better games he had in college. Pumaren would be one of the few people who would have the power to make somebody believe that his system leads to wins and championships - and the power to judge the potential of a player. NEW YEAR, NEW ME After two years in Adamson, though, Pingoy decided against playing his fifth and final playing year in the UAAP and decided to instead nurse his troublesome left foot back to full strength. Along with that, for the good of his mind, he decided to stay away from all the noise. And so, for more than a year, not much was heard from Pingoy nor did he hear anything from anyone. That was until Karate Kid-CEU came calling by getting him in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft. With his up-and-down collegiate career a thing of the past, Pingoy was nothing but grateful for yet another shot. "I'm so thakful sa CEU kasi sobrang inaalagaan nila ako. Sina Coach Jeff [Napa] pati mga boss dun, tinutulungan talaga nila akong mabalik yung career ko," he said. So much was he grateful that he wasted no time in returning their trust in him. In fact, in just a month, he was able to shed off excess fat - something he has been known to be unable to get away from in his last years in college - and shape up. "After practices, may workout pa ako and dahil dun, from 250 lbs., naging 211 lbs. na lang ako nung may D-League pa. Ngayon, tuloy-tuloy pa rin and 197 lbs. na lang ako," he was glad to report. He also added, "Kailangan nasa 170 lbs. Sana makuha." HERE WE GO AGAIN Just when it looked like all was finally coming together for Pingoy, however, COVID-19 turned into a pandemic and forced the D-League, as well as all other sporting events, to be postponed. And with the crisis continuing, it is yet to be determined when the developmental league would resume - or if it would even resume considering that all but one of its 11 participating teams are college-based. This is just the latest challenge in a young career that has already been through several starts and stops. Start with back-to-back UAAP Jrs. MVPs as well as a championship in FEU-Diliman. Stop with brand new residency rules from high school to college. Start with the starting point guard position in your first game in Ateneo. Stop with a logjam of point guards and then academic deficiencies. Start with a long-awaited breakout as a two-way player for Adamson. Stop with a foot injury that failed to fully heal. Start with Karate Kid-CEU taking a chance on you. Stop with COVID-19 shutting down anything and everything. Still, Pingoy chooses to see the silver linings. "I think it's God's plan. Hindi yung virus ha," he shared with a laugh. He then continued, "For me, sinasabing bago ka maglaro ulit, kailangang fit na fit ka. Dapat, 'di na ganun kataba. Dapat, ipakita sa CEU na kahit walang training, ready pa rin." For sure, his future is yet to be written - and only his hand is holding the pen. Still, it could not be argued that after all those starts and stops, the very first one remains to have left the biggest mark. NEXT ON BEST-OF-5 SERIES: THE PINGOY RULES: "Nasasayangan ako sa years na 'di ako nakapaglaro. Kung nakapaglaro ako nung mga yun, mag-iiba yung takbo ng panahon." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

Master to The Apprentice? Team Lakay s Mark Sangiao talks about The Apprentice: ONE Championship edition

Known as the man behind Team Lakay, the Philippines’ top mixed martial arts stable, head coach Mark “The Machine” Sangiao is widely regarded in the MMA world as a master. A former Wushu standout and mixed martial artist himself, Sangiao has coached a number of the Philippines’ best fighters into world champions, including the likes of reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua Pacio, current BRAVE CF Bantamweight Champion Stephen Loman, and former titleholders like Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Geje Eustaqiuo, and Honorio Banario. But what if the master was given an opportunity to become and apprentice? ONE Championship recently announced that they would be producing The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition, hosted by none other than the Singapore-based promotion’s Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition will feature 16 contestants competing against each other for a US $250,000 dollar job opportunity to work for Chatri at the ONE Global Headquarters and become his business protege. Apart from being just a world champion coach, Sangiao is also a business man as the CEO of Team Lakay, and he believes that an opportunity to work and learn from a man like Chatri is nothing short of invaluable. “More than a hundred percent I would say yes if given the chance,” Sangiao said via ONE Championship. “I would do anything that would be good for me, my family, my athletes, Team Lakay, and future warriors. An opportunity like that would be hard to say no to.” Like Chatri, Sangiao knows what it’s like to have nothing. Before he was one of the most respected coaches in the game, Sangiao had to make ends meet by pursuing a career as a fighter. Often times, he needed a helping hand. “Early in my martial arts career, I would borrow money countless times just so I could travel from Baguio to Manila every time I had a fight. Life was hard. I started from zero. I had nothing,” Sangiao revealed. “When I was teaching martial arts, I used to jog six kilometers everyday both ways from La Trinidad to Baguio City since I had no money to pay for my jeepney fare. Some students would help me by giving me five pesos so I didn’t have to travel on foot,” he added. “I taught for passion, for almost no pay.” Eventually, that passion brought Sangiao and other aspiring martial artists together, which became the birth of what we know now as Team Lakay. Like the founder and the other members, Team Lakay’s beginnings were humble. “When I first started Team Lakay, we had just one pair of gloves which we all shared. All of our training and equipment, everything was improvised. We trained outdoors and made use of the beautiful nature in Baguio City to train. It was free,” Sangiao recalled. And while it was a small start, Sangiao’s goals and ambitions for the team were far from small. “People call me a strategist, because I don’t just rush into things. I like to create a plan,” said Sangiao. “Not just as a coach, but in my entire approach to life in general. I like to think deep about things and I always have a long-term future goal. I set a goal, and no matter how hard or impossible it may look, I do everything in my power to make it happen.” Eventually, Team Lakay grew into the powerhouse gym that it is today, and eventually, the humble little gym grew into a complete training facility, one that some of the best fighters in the world truly deserve. “Four years ago, it seemed impossible to happen, but I worked hard for it. I envisioned it, and when the opportunity came about, we took it. I didn’t even think about the kind of money we needed to spend to put it up, for all the new machines we had to buy, for the rent we had to pay. I just took the chance, and here we are. We’re doing okay,” Sangiao exclaimed. While Sangiao may be the driving force, he understands that none of this would be possible without a plan, a goal, and a collection of people with the same drive and determination. “It takes a goal, a firm and strong mind to reach that goal, an opportunity, and the heart to succeed. You just have to have patience and wait for the right time. More importantly, you need the right people working with you. You have to surround yourself with like-minded people. With that, there is no impossible dream,” said Sangiao. As it stands, Sangiao is already a self-made man. Being the head of the country’s premier gym is no small feat after all, but he does understand the value of an opportunity to work with a businessman and an entrepreneur the caliber of Chatri. An opportunity like that could help take Team Lakay, as a business, to even greater heights. Sangiao believes that the perfect candidate for The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is someone fearless and strong-willed, much like himself. “The perfect candidate has to have that strong determination to make goals materialize. He or she needs to know how to take risks, but calculated risks with smart filtering decisions, and to be prepared for whatever results may come.” “You can’t be afraid to take chances when opportunities present themselves, even if you’re not a hundred percent sure you will succeed. Opportunity is opportunity, and you have to be brave enough to grab it, and invest in it,” he continued. Like Chatri, Sangiao is proof that even the smallest of dreams, if properly planned and pursued, can become something big when the time is right. “If money is an issue, you have many other advantages to lean back on. You have your time, your effort, and your mind. Bank on your abilities, and things will fall into place,” he concluded. The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is set for a late-2020 premier. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 1st, 2020

Has Kyrie Irving played his last game for Celtics?

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press It begins. When the buzzer sounded in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, the question immediately became this: Has Kyrie Irving played his last game for the Boston Celtics? It’s very possible. Welcome to free agency, Kyrie. [Watch the Playoffs on NBA League Pass for 30% less with this limited time offer! Select Annual package and use code SAVE30 at checkout to redeem] He’s now in the place that other big names like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson all will be whenever their respective seasons end, whether that happens with a playoff defeat, or with an injury — Durant left Game 5 of Golden State’s Western Conference semifinal series against Houston on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) with a right calf strain — or with their fingerprints smudging the golden surface of the Larry O’Brien Trophy. They will all hear some version of the question that Irving got. Free agency doesn’t technically start until July 1, but in actuality it began for the superstar point guard with 8:40 left in the fourth quarter of Game 5 — when he checked out for the last time in what capped Boston’s ousting from the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Milwaukee Bucks. He has a player option for next season, one that would pay him about $21 million. No one expects him to pick up that option. Irving got the question a number of different ways Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time), and his defense was stellar. No hints, whatsoever. “I’m just trying to make it back to Boston first, safely,” Irving said. “Get to see my family. Decompress. Do what human beings do.” This will be a seismic free-agent summer in the NBA and everyone has known this was coming for some time. Durant, Butler, Leonard, Thompson, Irving and Kemba Walker all may sign deals worth well over $100 million apiece. Combined, the total value of those six looming contracts could flirt with $1 billion if everyone involved decides to max-out and not take shorter-term deals. The New York Knicks might have close to $75 million in salary-cap space, more than enough to potentially land Irving and Durant. The Los Angeles Clippers could have close to $60 million. Brooklyn, Dallas, Atlanta and Indiana might have about $50 million apiece. The Los Angeles Lakers — even with LeBron James’ big contract and a coaching search that has gone from slow to stuck — have more than enough to add some major names. It will be wild, starting with lots of eyes on Golden State. Questions about Durant leaving have percolated all season and will only pick up between now and July 1. Thompson’s future has been the source of much debate. Imagine: The Warriors could win their third straight title and fourth in five years, and they might break up anyway. Butler will take a long look at signing elsewhere, and he might start hearing ‘the question’ as soon as Thursday (Friday, PHL time) when Philadelphia now on the ropes against Toronto. Leonard’s future with the Raptors may be tied to how deep they go in the playoffs. Walker’s situation in Charlotte hinges on the size of the offer the Hornets make to keep him. Irving tried to make all the chatter about his future go away in early October, when he stole the show at a preseason event for Celtics fans at the team’s arena in Boston. He grabbed the microphone, walked toward midcourt and delivered a sentence that is going to get replayed a lot over the next eight weeks. “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here,” Irving said. Sounded great then. Doesn’t seem so iron-clad now. And truth be told, the Celtics might be thinking they’re better off without Irving anyway given how they went deeper in the playoffs with him sidelined last season and his struggles over the last four games of the Milwaukee series. They were 35-19 at one point. They went 19-18 the rest of the way. They went 14-17 in Irving’s last 31 appearances. They were 12-3 when he didn’t play this season. Irving won’t be taking a whole lot of questions — if any — over the next few weeks about his future. He knows what would be asked. All that matters now is his answer. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

McIlroy says he resents Olympics for making him choose sides

  DUBLIN (AP) — Rory McIlroy says he resented how the Olympics forced him to decide whether he would represent Ireland or Britain and that it reached a point that it 'wasn't worth the hassle' to compete in Rio de Janeiro. In an interview with the Sunday Independent in Ireland, McIlroy explained why he was so critical of golf's return to the Olympics during a press conference at last summer's British Open. McIlroy, the four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, cited concerns over the Zika virus as his reason not to go to Rio. He told the Irish newspaper that when the International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would be part of the program for the first time since 2004, 'all of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am.' 'Who am I? Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to (upset) the most?' McIlroy said. 'I started to resent it. And I do. I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in. That's my feelings toward it. And whether that's right or wrong, that's how I feel.' McIlroy said he sent a text message to Justin Rose to congratulate him on winning the gold medal in Rio for Britain. He said Rose thanked him and asked if McIlroy felt as though he had missed out. 'I said, 'Justin, if I had been on the podium (listening) to the Irish national anthem as that flag went up, or the British national anthem as that flag went up, I would have felt uncomfortable either way.'' McIlroy told the newspaper. 'I don't know the words to either anthem. I don't feel a connection to either flag. I don't want it to be about flags. I've tried to stay away from that.' McIlroy was among several top stars who opted to skip the Olympics, most citing the Zika virus. He had been scheduled to play for Ireland until announcing in June he would not be going. Jordan Spieth did not announce his decision to miss Rio until a few days before the British Open. McIlroy spoke after Spieth, and the Olympics was brought up again. McIlroy dismissed the notion that he had let down his sport, saying, 'I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game.' He also said that he probably wouldn't watch Olympic golf on TV, only 'the stuff that matters.' 'Well, I'd had nothing but questions about the Olympics — 'the Olympics, the Olympics, the Olympics' — and it was just one question too far,' McIlroy said. 'I'd said what I needed to say. I'd got myself out of it, and it comes up again. And I could feel it. I could just feel myself go, 'Poom!' And I thought, 'I'm going to let them have it.' 'OK, I went a bit far,' he added. 'But I hate that term, 'growing the game.' Do you ever hear that in other sports? In tennis? Football? 'Let's grow the game.' I mean, golf was here long before we were, and it's going to be here long after we're gone. So I don't get that, but I probably went a bit overboard.' McIlroy said Olympic golf didn't mean that much to him. 'It really doesn't. I don't get excited about it. And people can disagree, and have a different opinion, and that's totally fine,' he said. 'Each to their own.' McIlroy, who is to play the South African Open this week, said he has never been driven by nationalism or patriotism because of where he was raised. 'And I never wanted it to get political or about where I'm from, but that's what it turned into,' he said. 'And it just got to the point where it wasn't worth the hassle.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

A guide to FIFA's options for expanding the 2026 World Cup

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer   FIFA is preparing to decide Tuesday on adding 16 more teams to the 2026 World Cup for a 48-team tournament. President Gianni Infantino's favored format would break with soccer tradition to play in groups of only three teams. Two would advance from each group to a Round of 32 knockout bracket. If agreed by the Infantino-chaired FIFA Council in Zurich, the 2026 hosting contest could formally open in weeks. A co-hosted North American bid is widely seen as the best option. Here are some things to know about overhauling the greatest competition in the world's most popular sport: ___ WHY EXPAND? A bigger World Cup was an Infantino campaign promise before his election last February, when his plan was 40 teams. It might have been key. Infantino's momentum for victory in a second-round poll was a three-vote lead over Sheik Salman of Bahrain in the first. Sheik Salman had promised only to review if more World Cup teams were wanted. Infantino also pledged to give more of FIFA's money to member federations — all 211 are now entitled to $5 million from each World Cup — and send more to continental and regional soccer bodies. So, more teams also had to mean more games, earning more revenue from broadcasters and sponsors. The '16x3' format arguably works better with only group winners advancing. But that would leave total matches unchanged at 64. Infantino also wants to create fervor in the extra countries which would qualify. In the short-term, competing national teams attract more sponsors. The long-term goal is appealing to more young people who are the future players, fans and officials. Expect to hear much FIFA talk of helping the next Costa Rica or Iceland — feelgood stories at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 — by inviting 16 more teams to the party. ___ 48-TEAM OPTIONS A near-consensus is growing around the '16x3' option revealed just one month ago. All 80 games would be played in exclusive time slots. That's more hours of TV exposure for sponsors and sales time for broadcasters in the same 32-day tournament period. By advancing two teams from each group, a Round of 32 ensures most teams still play at least three matches. FIFA's own analysis predicts this format will raise revenue by 20 percent from the equivalent $5.5 billion forecast from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The flaw for purists is planning for penalty shootouts to settle drawn group matches. If each game has a 'winner' that guards against teams colluding on a mutually favorable result in the last group games. Previously, Infantino suggested an opening playoff round of 16 matches to decide who would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group phase. That was unacceptable to many FIFA members federations who said 'one-and-done' teams were not part of a real World Cup. It also would stretch the tournament to 39 days. ___ 40-TEAM OPTIONS Infantino's plan from one year ago is now almost friendless. Either of two options, 10 groups of four teams or eight five-team groups, gives lopsided or weak match schedules, FIFA judged. In '10x4,' only 76 matches are played and only six group runners-up advance from a muddled tiebreaker process to a Round of 16. In '8x5,' the 88 matches include meaningless ones in a flabby group phase ripe for collusion. Also, the four semifinalists would play eight matches and that workload is unacceptable to European clubs releasing employees to national-team duty. ___ PROVEN 32-TEAM FORMAT Why fix something that is not broken? Germany, the defending champion, has publicly asked this question. The 32-team format and perfect 64-match bracket has worked well since being introduced at the 1998 World Cup in France (where Europe had 15 teams). FIFA acknowledged that it produces the best soccer — 'the highest absolute quality' of games pitting high-ranked teams against each other. Recall that former winners Italy, England and Uruguay were drawn in the same 2014 World Cup group — and yet Costa Rica finished top. Still, enough of FIFA's 211 members want change and their chance to play. ___ WHO WILL PLAY? A big question is likely not being resolved Tuesday. FIFA has yet to announce exactly how many entry slots each of six confederations would get for their own qualifying program. Quotas for a 40-team World Cup were proposed in December 2015 by a FIFA advisory group that included Infantino, then UEFA's general secretary. Some saw a cynical move to sweeten skeptical FIFA voters who were being asked to vote through modernizing and anti-corruption reforms on the same day they picked a new president. Then, assuming a single host nation would get automatic entry, the proposal for sharing 39 qualifying slots was: Europe 14; Africa 7; Asia 6; South America 5; North, Central America and Caribbean 5; Oceania 1; plus a final slot awarded 'based on sporting merits using a method yet to be defined.' Going from 40 to 48 can add at least one more from each continent. Who could those new teams be? On current form, maybe Wales and Panama, Congo and Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and Oman, will bring something new to the 2026 World Cup. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

76ers beat Nets for 10th win, match last season's total

em>By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Embiid is no longer just trusting the process. Now he's talking about the playoffs. Embiid scored 20 points and the Philadelphia 76ers earned their 10th victory to match their total from all last season, beating the Brooklyn Nets 105-95 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The 76ers broke it open with a 17-2 surge in the fourth quarter to win the matchup between the NBA's two worst teams and improve to 10-25 in their first season with former lottery picks Embiid and Dario Saric. They were 10-72 in 2015-16, just off their own record for worst finish in the 82-game schedule. Embiid has looked at the standings and seen the 76ers are eight games back of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, and believes that should be a goal. 'I think we have a chance. We've been hot lately,' he said. 'We've won three out of four lately, so I look at it and I think we have a chance and we're really figuring things out. We're starting to learn how to win games.' Embiid did his damage without even reaching the 28-minute restriction he was limited to as he recovers from a series of foot injuries that delayed his NBA debut for two years. He left the court to chants of 'Trust the Process!' in a nod to what he and others reminded fans while the Sixers lost big during Sam Hinkie's rebuilding plan. Even as the victories come, coach Brett Brown said the building process remains most important. 'We are winning basketball games more frequently than we have been, but for us it's still, how are we doing what we do?' Brown said. 'Are we doing our job? Are we not skipping steps? Are we putting in good days? And we believe as simple as that might sound that they will add up.' Saric added 18 points, while Robert Covington and Nik Stauskas each had 15. Brook Lopez scored 26 points for the Nets (8-28), who have lost six in a row. The Nets led by 11 at halftime, but the Sixers scored the first 13 points of the third quarter to take their first lead at 59-57 on a jumper by Embiid. They opened the second half with a 30-9 spurt and went into the fourth ahead 78-73. 'I just didn't feel like that third quarter, it's like, 'Why isn't our energy the same?'' Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. Brooklyn recovered to take an 85-84 edge but it was all Sixers from there, closing their spurt with 13 straight points to make it 101-87 on Covington's 3-pointer. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>76ers: /strong> /em>Sergio Rodriguez returned after a three-game absence with a sprained left ankle, but T.J. McConnell remained the starter after recording a career-high 17 assists Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Boston. Brown stopped short of saying it would stay that way long-term or even that McConnell would play the starter's share of the minutes, but praised his play in Rodriguez's absence. McConnell missed his first seven shots but finished with six assists and eight rebounds. em> strong>Nets: /strong> /em>The Nets fell to 7-2 against the 76ers at Barclays Center, their most wins against any team. Starting forward Trevor Booker left after just three minutes of the second half with a bruised left hip. The Nets originally ruled him out for the remainder of the game, but he returned with 4:36 to play. strong>NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN /strong> The 76ers spent their Saturday night in New York at the Broadway musical 'Hamilton,' the winner of 11 Tony Awards in 2016 that uses hip-hop music to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton and America's founding fathers. 'Team stuff like that, growing a culture, building a program off the floor, that stuff matters to us,' Brown said, 'and I think it's just one other example of just things you try to do with a team to just grow a program and grow a culture and it was a wonderful day.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>76ers: /strong> /em> Host New York on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), the first meeting this season. em> strong>Nets: /strong> /em> Host Atlanta on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Atkinson's first time coaching against the team where he was an assistant the previous four seasons. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Economic recovery takes ‘one step back’

The Philippine economic recovery is taking a step back to curb the surging coronavirus outbreak and fix the fragile health system waging a “losing battle” against the pandemic. Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that the return of Metro Manila and nearly provinces to a stricter lockdown may take a toll on the drivers of economic rebound in the near-term. But Dominguez said that if the reimposed stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) is correctly implemented, it will have a favorable impact on the nation’s long-term economic prospects. “In the short run, the return to MECQ may negatively affect livelihoods, consumer demand and production. However, if the time is used to boost all our medical resources and prevent further spread of the virus, then the MECQ will be positive for the long haul,” Dominguez said. As this is a new virus, Dominguez explained that nations, including the Philippines, continuously learn to adapt to the challenges posed by the new and uncertain environment induced by coronavirus. “The whole world is learning how to dance with this virus: two steps forward and one step back,” Dominguez said.Earlier, the DOF chief pushed for a shift of Metro Manila and Calabarzon—accounting for about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP)—“as quickly as possible” to the most lenient quarantine status to kickstart the economy. However, President Duterte ordered Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal back under the MECQ from August 4 to 18 following a surge of COVID-19 cases and the appeal of healthcare workers. The two week shift to MECQ for Metro Manila and its adjacent provinces starting today ceased some businesses and public transport, while work and quarantine passes are also reinforced to restrict non-essential movements. Reverting to MECQ is an unwelcome develop for the economic managers as it could derail hopes for a recovery in the third quarter of the year. Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua earlier said the economic impact of the quarantine measures in country was “more severe than expected.”  Days before Metro Maila reverted to MECQ, Dominguez said the local economy had already hit bottom and started to recover from the coronavirus-induced crisis, noting business activities have begun to pick up. The government had gradually eased the tough virus lockdown measures after the economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2020

Cleanfuel Strengthens Retail Network in Southern Manila

Now serving with the newest technologies implemented to create high-tech fuel for your vehicles, Cleanfuel, believes in the resiliency of the Filipino people that would bring and sustain solid economic recovery amid health crisis. Their recently opened retail station at Doña Soledad in Parañaque City shows a testament that the company remains upbeat in expanding their network footprints in Southern portion of Metro Manila.   “While 2020 is a challenging year, Cleanfuel has remained optimistic riding in the resiliency of Filipinos towards economic recovery. This is the reason why Cleanfuel Group of Companies continues to invest and opened more stations as a testament and commitment to its people to provide top-notch fuel to every motorist,” said Atty Bong Suntay, President of Cleanfuel. “The opening of the new station in Doña Soledad is in line with Cleanfuel’s goal to expand its reach and strengthen its customer base in the Southern part of Metro Manila,” Suntay said. Situated at the busy thoroughfare of Doña Soledad Avenue Extension at Barangay Don Bosco in Parañaque City, the new station offers a top-notch fuel and lubricants including Clean91 (Unleaded), Premium 95 gasoline, and Euro-4 diesel. It provides access to both public and private motorists from Better Living going to Moonwalk, connecting in the bustling intersection of eastern Parañaque.  In addition, the second district of Don Bosco is the primary residential Barangay of Ninoy Aquino International Airport and one of the 16 Barangays in Parañaque City. Key factors of the city’s progress include banks, shopping malls, restaurants, residential properties, and commercial manufacturing. Motorists heading towards the busy streets of Doña Soledad Avenue Extension from east-west and northern side of Parañaque can gas up to experience Cleanfuel’s brand mantra: Quality fuel for Less! Further, Cleanfuel Doña Soledad station will become a key driver of growth to more than 60,000 population of Barangay Don Bosco. As the city relies on shopping centers as part of major contributors, the company sees that the opening of Cleanfuel Doña Soledad will further strengthen and boost economic confidence. “We’re grateful and honor to inaugurate Cleanfuel Doña Soledad as our first station to open in these unprecedented times. The economy in the City of Parañaque has been growing consistently with massive projects in property and commercial manufacturing,” the company’s chief executive said.  Suntay adds that in the next coming months Cleanfuel is adding more stations not only in NCR but also in provinces to provide quality fuel for business and opportunities for others. “We intend to leverage our business aggressively and expand our retail network across the country, focusing on Mega Manila and Northern Luzon,” concludes Suntay.  Cleanfuel is expected to open more stations in coming weeks in Ortigas Avenue Extension in Pasig and mega branch in Mabalacat Pampanga as part of the long-term business expansion plan. Aside from expansion, the company has extended its support by providing fuel subsidy for the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr’s) Free Bus Ride for Health Workers Program and drive relief donations to northern provinces, which include Pangasinan (Villasis, Binalonan, Pozorrubio) and San Fernando (La Union) and other cities in Metro Manila......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

PBA: TNT s missing piece? Erram says he s not, but pressure is on

TNT badly wants a PBA championship to end what has now been a long five-year drought. In order to do so, the KaTropa made a big move to acquire star center Poy Erram in a rather complicated three-team trade. The arrival of Erram have many seeing him as TNT's missing piece for its title aspirations. Personally, Erram doesn't consider himself as that piece but he does feel the pressure of joining a KaTropa team that's built to win now. "Not gonna lie, naramdaman ko yung pressure nung na-trade ako sa TNT," Erram said on 2OT. "Kasi TNT, kaya nila mag-champion eh. Pero di ko masasabi na ako yung missing piece, kasi every time naman umaabot sila sa semis, sa Finals," he added. In addition to Erram, TNT already has Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, RR Pogoy, and Ray Parks Jr. in the lineup, although that hasn't transalated to any trophies as of late. The KaTropa last won a championship in the 2015 Commissioner's Cup and they've only returned to the Finals twice since. The flagship MVP franchise hasn't had this kind of championship drought since the mid-2000s when they went six years in between All-Filipino titles. Erram's arrival plugs a lot of holes in the KaTropa system, particularly on the defensive end. The former Defensive Player of the Year gives TNT its most legitimate option at center at his height since perhaps Asi Taulava over a decade ago. "Siguro talagang may mga breaks of the game kaya di nagcha-champion. Pero I think, wala naman talagang missing piece sa team, as long as nagagawa mo yung short and long-term goals, may mga kulang lang sila siguro na di na nabibigay ng todo ng ibang player. Kunwari sila kuya Kelly [Williams], syempre tumatanda so iba na rin yung napo-produce niya," Erram said. "For me, kung ano kulang, yun lang idadag ko. Hindi naman ako scorer, kung ano lang kailangan nila, yun ang ibibigay ko. Kung kailangan nila ng depensa, kailangan ng ganito, ganya, yun ang gagawin ko. I don't consider myself as a missing piece, kasi TNT as itself, malakas na. Kailangan lang siguro nila ng isang player na willing i-accept yung role and willing na i-give up yung sarili para sa team," he added.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2020

Javi, Juan GDL reiterate return to UP in UAAP 84

Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano still have their sights set on giving their all for the teams they play for together - even in the face of the continuing COVID-19 crisis. "It's very unfortunate kasi ako, I was really excited to represent Nueva Ecija," Juan said in last Friday's The Prospects Pod. "That was something I was really looking forward to, but there's nothing else we can do." The GDL brothers were all set to suit up for Nueva Ecija in the MPBL all while they were already starring for Marinerong Pilipino in the PBA D-League. This, on top of them being part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool. Unfortunately, the continuing COVID-19 crisis has put their plans on pause. Still, both of them are hard at work keeping in game shape. "The work never stops for us naman e," Javi said. Whenever they finally get to play for Nueva Ecija or Marinero or Gilas, one thing's for certain: Javi and Juan GDL are not forgoing of their eligibility for the University of the Philippines just yet. As Javi put it, "I really wanna play again for UP right after my stint with Nueva Ecija. Next year, I'm gonna play with Nueva Ecija pa rin, but whenever Season 84 is, I'll be playing for UP." Earlier in the year, Javi decided to sit out UAAP Season 83 to focus full-time on Gilas. Not long after, Juan followed suit, while also adding that they were also about to showcase their skills in the MPBL and the PBA D-League. Fast forward to now, and the long-term view has not changed one bit - they will be back in maroon and white in Season 84. "Since high school, palagi kong sinasabi sa sarili kong gusto kong mag-champion yung UP bago mag-graduate. Actually, I was already thinking of going to the PBA Draft last year," Javi shared. He then continued, "Kaso lang, hindi ko talaga matanggal sa isip ko to give a championship to UP one day." Juan could do nothing but second the statement. "I've been in UP for seven years and personally, I just wanna bring a championship kahit isa lang," he said. In UAAP 84, Diliman's homegrown talents have re-assured their faithful that they would be back in the saddle for playoff, or even championship, contention. And there, they may very well have even more help in the form of two more GDLs. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 25th, 2020

DoTA 2 star N0tail sees eSports thriving in new normal

With physical distancing being enforced and mass gatherings being prohibited during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most, if not all major sports have taken big blows.  While most professional sports are slowly getting back on their feet, it might take a while - if ever - for the live sports experience to return to normal.  For eSports, an industry that really doesn’t require physical interaction or mass gatherings, surviving and thriving in the new normal should not be an issue, and DoTA star Johan “N0tail” Sundstien is confident that will be the case.  Speaking to a handful of Filipino media before his 1 on 1 DoTA 2 battle with Filipino gamer Zedrik “Jeff” Dizon, N0tail spoke about how the eSports industry can survive, how it has grown since he began playing, and what Jeff’s 2020 Red Bull r1v1r Runes Championship can do for the Filipino eSports scene.  For the 26-year old native of Denmark, eSports should have little to no problems getting back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Yeah, I think eSports is in way better shape than other physical sports, for sure. Physical sports, sports in general, have probably made more of a business and they’ve been used to offline events and monetizing fans coming into stadiums, so obviously they’re having a much harder time than we would be,” N0tail explained.  Prior to eSports exploding and becoming a live attraction, tournaments were done mainly online, and N0tail believes that this is one of the industry’s advantages especially in the ’new normal’.  “We come from a place where we used to have online tournaments, we used to do these things online purely, and when [the COVID-19 virus pandemic] happened, I think all streaming and all online entertainment platforms had this opportunity to thrive and to exist. It’s a good time to be playing video games and not doing live music or something like that.”  “The Coronavirus] hit a lot of people pretty hard, but we have a good chance,” he added.  Speaking of the explosion of eSports, N0tail recalls the industry’s humble beginnings and how far it has come now.  “When I started, it was nowhere near what it is today. Today, obviously, we travel the world, have all these tournaments, have so many more viewers than we’ve ever had,” N0tail said. “Humanity really likes games, obviously, chess, sports, any kind of game for entertainment, and we’ve come a very long way. We’re way more professional, and financially, way more stable.”  The prizes now have also come a long, long way from what they used to be, N0tail shared.  “Ten years ago, we were playing for headsets and a couple hundred dollars, and now it’s way, way bigger, for millions. It keeps going up, it keeps getting more traction and attention, and I like to see that trend, I hope it keeps going.”  The Philippines has slowly emerged as a hotbed for eSports talent, and Ateneo’s Zedrik  “Jeff” Dizon could be on his way to becoming a top star following his 2020 Red Bull R1v1r Runes Championship victory.  Apart from the win, Jeff also had the opportunity to go one-on-one with N0tail, Team Captain of the 2-time The Internationals champions Team OG.  For an established name and veteran like N0tail, being able to compete against people from all over the world is always a sign of progress for eSports.  “DoTA connects people, and whenever somebody from one region that might be weaker plays against another region that might be stronger, or even if they’re both strong or equally [matched], DoTA is a game of ideas and experience, so whenever there’s this cross-country or cross-region game happening, I think there’s always progress. It’s the same when we shape a metagame, when those events were happening, all these teams came together, you quickly saw ideas transfer and a meta being formed between regions and, SC might be doing something one way and it might take something that Europe or NA might be doing, so everytime that it happens, I think it’s a postive thing.”  “It makes the ideas evolve and they evolve into something better,” he added.  Jeff came up big against N0tail in their one-on-one match, winning 2-1. Catch the replay HERE.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2020

GREATEST PERFORMANCES: Alvin Pasaol s 49-point masterpiece

For 99.9 percent of the time, the Collegiate Press Corps' Player of the Week comes from a team with a win or a winning record. And so, the 0.1 percent chance of that not being the case has to be something so special. Alvin Pasaol's 49 points on October 9, 2017 was just that. First and foremost, let's just get it out of the way - Pasaol and University of the East bowed to De La Salle University, 100-106. Still, it was the burly forward who was the talk of the town as he became the first Filipino to breach the 40-point marker in over a decade. Make no mistake, he scored all of his points efficiently - going 20-for-30 from the field. He was so impressive, despite the loss, that Green Archer and eventual back-to-back Season MVP Ben Mbala could do nothing but sing his praises. Asked about an instance that had him tapping Pasaol on the head, Mbala answered, "I told him to keep working. He did a good job and when a guy plays well, you have to acknowledge him." He then continued, "It's a game of basketball after all . We have to enjoy and I have to congratulate him for his career-high." That game looked like it was going to be unremarkable in the earlygoing as "Big Ben" joined forces with Abu Tratter to power La Salle to a double-digit lead. After three quarters, it was actually all but over. Then with seven minutes remaining, UE's scoring machine got his 40th and 41st points - meaning he was two points away from tying the most points scored by a single player in a single game since 2003. He matched that milestone with an inside basket at the 4:13 mark of the final frame. Two minutes later, Pasaol made good on a triple to set the new scoring mark in the new era. Not long after, he added three more to his total. While it was the Alvin Pasaol show, after the game, the Davao native himself, humble as always, actually deflected all credit to his teammates. "Nag-stick lang naman ako sa game plan namin. Salamat din sa mga teammates ko kasi hindi ko naman makukuha yung 49 points dahil sa mga teammates ko." Whatever it is, then-head coach Derrick Pumaren said that what the Red Warriors’ main man did was something so special. “First time ata that I’ve coached a local scoring 49 kasi dati, import lang ang nakaka-score. I was really praying that he gets 50, but we’ll take 49,” he said while chuckling. The Collegiate Press Corps agreed. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2020

Damian Lillard emerges from shutdown ready for playoff push

By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Grieving the death of a cousin and missing his mother, Damian Lillard struggled emotionally after the NBA shut down because of the coronavirus. But he also found inspiration in his activism for Black Lives Matter and his flourishing music career. The Trail Blazers were just out of the playoff picture, sitting ninth in the Western Conference standings on March 11 when the league was shuttered. The team will be among 22 that will depart next week for Orlando as part of the re-start. Portland will have eight games to secure a playoff berth, starting on July 31 with Memphis. “We don’t have time to ease our way in, we don't have time to try and figure stuff out, we’ve got to come in assertive and aggressive and just go after it,” he said. “And if we fail, we fail, but we gotta at least come out there with that mentality of we don’t have time to kind of ease into it.” Lillard welcomes the chance to resume playing after a difficult few months. He admittedly had no idea how serious the virus was when the league closed down. He went to Phoenix with his family, intent on finding a gym to stay in shape during the layoff. But the NBA said players couldn't go to third-party facilities or trainers because of health concerns. While grateful that he had his fiance and son with him, Lillard essentially sheltered in place once he got back to Portland. He didn't see his mom for more than a month. And then his cousin and personal chef, Brandon Johnson, suddenly passed away. “It was tough, man. I think that was when I got to the point where I was like, if I was waking up and it wasn’t a sunny day, it was messing with my mood. It was just tough,” Lillard said. “I got through it, just from having a lot of my family around. That really helped. So I can see why somebody who is with one person or by themselves would have a really hard time. Definitely a tough few months.” Always diligent about his fitness, Lillard found a way to train. Then George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, touching off nationwide protests over police brutality. Lillard marched in Portland. He also released a powerful rap "Blacklist,'' under his music persona, Dame D.O.L.L.A. “I grew up with Oscar Grant, who was killed at a BART station while handcuffed facedown. I’ve been racially profiled by cops, before I was in the NBA. So I have thoughts and feelings about this stuff. That’s what Blacklist was about,” he said. Lillard was averaging 28.9 points and 7.8 assists this season. In January he scored 61 points in a game against the Warriors and he had seven games with 40 or more points. He'll be among those sequestered at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for games, but the resumption of the season comes as cases of COVID-19 are spiking in Florida. Some players have opted out, including Portland's Trevor Ariza and Caleb Swanigan. But Portland will see the return of big men Jusuf Nurkic, now recovered from a broken leg last season, and Zach Collins, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. One thing that's not a concern for the Blazers is fitness. “They’ve been very diligent about taking care of themselves, both in the weight room and on the court, and treatment. So I’ve been very impressed with all of their conditioning," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “They’re not an NBA game shape yet, but I think with a month to go, with the practices that we’re going to have, and the way they’ve taken care of themselves so far, I don’t think it’s a stretch that they’ll be more than ready.” Lillard is confident in his own ability to stay healthy, but he doesn't quite trust everyone else. The NBA announced this week that nine additional players had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total of league players who have contracted it to 25. “I feel like it’s still a possibility for something to spread within that bubble, just with there been so many people and so many different things that we’ve got to follow to be safe, even though we’re not exposed to the public,” he said. “So for me, it’s gonna be, `What time is practice? What time can I get in the weight room, What time can I get some shots up? What’s the plan for game day?' I’m going to be in the room. I’m going to have my PS3, my PS4. I’m going to have my studio equipment, my mike, my laptop. I’m going to have all my books. I mean, that’s it. I’m going to be in the room, chillin'.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2020

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Reveals Project “NEXT”

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) consistently remains to be ahead of its competitors in terms of improvement and adaptation which is evident in the game’s continued popularity and rise in its player pool year after year.   On June 5, the most popular mobile MOBA game in the world officially announced its most important initiative of the year – “NEXT”. “NEXT” is a long-term project focusing on hero adjustments, art and sound upgrades, as well as IP development, in order to constantly deliver high-quality game experiences to its loyal players.  The MLBB team is excited to unveil upgrades and improvements into important aspects of MLBB gameplay, the hero, and game control functions. “The revamp will be centered around the classic heroes’ core features, giving each one of them a unique symbol. This involves an updated story as well as skill reworks. In addition to these changes, improvements are also being carried out on model appearance, animation, and sound effects,” says William Mei, Marketing Manager of Moonton. As the game digs deeper and expands wider in the design of hero mechanics and playstyles, some of the classic heroes have naturally become less impactful in the game compared to newer heroes.  “Project “NEXT” aims to progressively work on reworking and improving classic heroes to make them relevant and unique to the current gameplay. The other big asset of the project is the optimization and improvement of the game’s control,” he adds.   It also introduces “Smart Targeting” which allows the player to freely and accurately select a target when using hero skills in a simple fashion bringing the mobile competition to another level. According to William, hearing feedback and suggestions from their loyal players are key to the popular game’s success and it helps them do better. “We value what our loyal players say. That is why we’re also working on different viewing methods like camera zoom out and tilt during skill cast to further improve the overall gameplay vision for players. We also want to assure them that this is just the start and we’ll make sure to do more game enhancements for them.”   Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’s project “NEXT” is definitely taking the game to a higher level with more updates coming very soon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

Golf makes a conservative return with an eye on the long run

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan went from wondering if any golf would be played this year to a schedule that resumes next week with a calendar filled through Thanksgiving. What hasn't changed is his belief that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic isn't over just because golf is back. “I don't think it's over," Monahan said Friday in a telephone interview. “I'm really confident in the plan. But you spend a lot of your time, given the uncertainty, thinking through scenarios that could play out. That's what we'll continue to do. We won't be comfortable until we're told we can be comfortable. That will be when we have a vaccine and there's no risk.” Golf is the second major sports league to return behind NASCAR, which began racing three weeks ago and ran nine national series races in a span of 14 days. The Charles Schwab Challenge next week in Fort Worth, Texas, has one of the strongest fields in Colonial's rich history, starting with the top five players from the world ranking. There will be no spectators for at least a month, even though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week moved the state to Phase III in the recovery that allows outdoor events at 50% capacity. “We've developed a safety plan that doesn't include spectators. That's what we stand by,” Monahan said. “We want to have a sustained return. If you think about a run to go through the FedEx Cup, we want to make sure week to week we're not taking on unnecessary risk.” Monahan said he is “not the arbiter of confidence,” rather it comes from guidance of health experts at all levels and a plan that involves testing players, caddies and essential personnel as much as twice a week — trying to create a bubble for the traveling circus that is golf. Players were mailed a test kit and were recommended to use it before they travel. They will be tested when they arrive at tournaments and before they leave if they're on charter flights the tour has arranged, and then the process is repeated at the next tournament. Thermal readings and health surveys are required daily, along with sanitizing and social distancing. “It's the only manner we could return,” he said. The tour added another layer this week in a deal with South Dakota-based Sanford Health to have mobile labs at every tournament, with capacity to get results in a matter of hours without taking away resources from the markets where they play. Monahan said CBS Sports is creating its own bubble for the telecast, with Jim Nantz the only person in the booth and other analysts working remotely. Ninety days will have passed from the opening round of The Players Championship, which was canceled the next day, until the first tee shot at Colonial. “We all went home dealing with the same questions,” he said. “How do I get a complete understanding of where we are with the virus and all the elements? How do we recognize that we're turning off (canceling) 11 events? How do you think about resumption and at the same time develop a safety and testing program, not our area of expertise?" The reset began with the majors picking new dates — the British Open was canceled — with the PGA Championship in San Francisco moving to Aug. 6-9, the U.S. Open in New York on Sept. 17-20, and the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “At that time it was very unclear where we would be with safety and testing,” Monahan said. “It could have been earlier than we are, it could have been through points of next year. Information was changing by the minute.” Now that golf is returning, Monahan couldn't predict when spectators would return. He said the tour has worked with tournaments the last several years on building a reserve fund for a crisis such as this. “If you’re not selling tickets, and there’s not hospitality, you don’t have the pro-am experience or the honorary observer program for the sponsor ... that’s a significant financial impact on those tournaments, and the impact on the way tournaments connect with their communities,” he said. Tournaments and their title sponsors still have managed to raise money for their local charities. The Zurich Classic matched last year's donation of $1.5 million to a children's services foundation. The John Deere Classic expects $10 million in donations, even though it canceled its July event. The pandemic is not the only talking point as golf tries to get back on track. The tour on Friday posted Monahan's letter to staff and players on the nation's civil unrest, which the AP first reported on Tuesday. He had a 10-minute video conversation with Harold Varner III, one of three PGA Tour members of black heritage, who wrote passionately on social media on George Floyd, killed when a white police officer held a knee to the back of Floyd's neck while the black man was handcuffed. The conversation was scheduled before the protests began, and Varner was chosen because he's on the Player Advisory Council and golf was ready to resume. “We'll be talking about COVID and civil and social unrest for some time,” Monahan said. “Next week will not be an exception on that front.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon Tom DeBlass explains reasons for signing with ONE Championship

It’s been nearly seven years since New Jersey native Tom “T-Bone” DeBlass set foot inside a mixed martial arts arena.  Back in November of 2013, DeBlass competed in last MMA bout, knocking out Jason Lambert in just under two minutes at Bellator 108.  Since then, the 38 year old has continuously been active in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circuit, competing in tournaments such as the ADCC, and the No Gi World Championships.  Last week however, DeBlass confirmed that he will be making a return to mixed martial arts after signing with Asian powerhouse ONE Championship.  For the third-degree BJJ Black Belt, the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus was a factor in getting him to return to the cage.  “This pandemic has really changed my way of thinking and my thought process. It’s very hard for me to just sit in my home, and I started developing a fire, a drive, and a motivation that I didn’t have before, but I put all my faith in God,” DeBlass told ONE Championship.    DeBlass believes that ONE Championship reaching out to him was the Lord’s will.  “A few days after I had a long prayer, Chatri [Sityodtong] messaged me and asked me what I thought about fighting. If it wasn’t him who messaged me, I wouldn’t have even thought about it.” “I truly admire what he has done with ONE, and I admire him. I said this must be God’s plan,” DeBlass continued.  DeBlass is a former Ring of Combat Heavyweight World Champion, apart from being a Bellator and UFC veteran.  Now, the Ricardo Almeida black belt will be taking his talents to the world’s biggest martial arts stage, and it’s because he has been quite impressed with what he’s seen with ONE.  “If I did come back to competition, it’s with ONE and no one else. I love what ONE Championship stands for and I’ve been to the shows multiple times,” DeBlass stated.  “I love the Samurai spirit. I love the Asian culture. Whether ONE is fighting in Asia or the United States, the culture they have represents much more than mixed martial arts,” he added.  DeBlass sees his return to competition with ONE as a chance to once again display what he can do and have fun while doing it.  “I look at ONE as a way of life and not fighting. I don’t look at ONE as fighting at all. I look at ONE as a chance to showcase my skills once again, have fun and push myself, and hopefully inspire other people.” Coming into the promotion as a heavyweight, DeBlass will be able to test himself against the likes of Alain Ngalani, Mauro Cerrilli, Arjan Bhullar, Vitor Belfort, and reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera.  DeBlass won’t be making any bold predictions as to how far he’ll go in the division however.  “I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I don’t want to disrespect anyone that has been in ONE or any titleholders or anybody who has been putting their time in. I’m just going to say my goal is to inspire everyone, fight by fight.” “Every fight I have, I look to win. Every competition I have, I look to win. Whatever path God takes me on, whether that be a World Title or defeat, I accept my fate. Let’s see what happens. It’s going to be phenomenal,” he concluded. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 25th, 2020

Lace them up: Boxing set for June 9 return in Las Vegas

By TIM DAHLBERG AP Boxing Writer LAS VEGAS (AP) — Add boxing to the list of sports on the comeback trail. Promoter Bob Arum said Thursday he plans to stage a card of five fights on June 9 at the MGM Grand, the first of a series of fights over the next two months at the Las Vegas hotel. A second fight card will be held two nights later, with ESPN televising both cards, kicking off twice weekly shows at the hotel in June and July. No fans will be allowed, and Arum said fighters and everyone else will be tested at least twice during fight week for the new coronavirus. The fights are pending approval of the Nevada Athletic Commission, which meets next week to consider the events, along with two cards that the UFC plans to stage at its facility in Las Vegas. They are also pending the reopening of the MGM and other Las Vegas hotels, something that is widely expected to happen the first week of June, though no dates for a second phase of easing virus restrictions have been announced by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. “Once we get those fights in and UFC gets its initial fights in, both of us will ask for additional dates," Arum told The Associated Press. "The key was getting enough testing, and we’ve got plenty of testing in Nevada to hold our events.” In addition to Arum’s fights, British promoter Eddie Hearn said this week he plans to hold fights beginning sometime in July from the backyard garden of the family mansion outside London where he was raised. Hearn told The Athletic that the first fight card is tentatively set for July 15. Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya has also talked about returning with a July 4 card, though he has offered no details. UFC returned to action earlier this month with cards in Florida, including a pay-per-view event, that took place without fans. Arum declined to say who would be fighting on June 9, saying ESPN wanted to make the announcement after the fights are approved. But he said the cards would feature the same quality of fighters who were on ESPN before the shutdown of sports around the world. The cards would be expanded to three-hour shows, Arum said, and feature a main event, a co-main and three supporting fights. “These will be the same guys we were going to have before to the extent possible,” he said. “Guys like (Olympic medalist) Shakur Stevenson and others who would have been fighting on our cards.” Stevenson was set to headline a Top Rank card in March at Madison Square Garden when it was called off at the last minute because of the pandemic. Another Top Rank fighter, Ireland’s Michael Conlan, was to fight in New York on St. Patrick’s Day, but Arum said Conlan won’t be on the upcoming cards because he’s unable to travel from Ireland. Arum said fighters and cornermen will be tested when they arrive in Las Vegas the week of the fight and will be housed on a “bubble” floor at the MGM Grand. They will be allowed out only to eat at an approved restaurant in the hotel or to train at the Top Rank gym. Fighters will also be tested the night before they fight. The double tests should eliminate the issue the UFC had when a fighter tested positive and was removed from the UFC 249 card, Arum said. “Our protocols will be much more stringent than UFC had in Florida,” Arum said. “In ours you wouldn’t have a fighter testing positive the day of the fight or the day before.” Arum credited Jim Murren, the former MGM CEO who leads a state task force dealing with the virus, with making sure there are enough tests available for fighters, judges, commissioners and anyone else involved on site. He said 60-70 people may be tested on fight day alone, using tests that can give results in a couple hours. While pre-pandemic fights were held in the 16,000-seat MGM Grand Garden, Arum said the fights will be held in a convention area or ballroom at the hotel. There will be no media allowed, at least at the beginning, he said, because of the logistical difficulty of testing more people. Arum’s Top Rank has a long-term deal with ESPN for fights that before the pandemic hit were on the main network and streaming service ESPN+. The network also combined with Fox to televise the pay-per-view of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder heavyweight title card in February that was Top Rank’s last card. Arum said he talked to Fury on Thursday and that plans are underway to hold the rematch — probably somewhere outside the U.S. — late this year. He said there are also still plans for a highly anticipated lightweight title unification fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez by the end of the year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2020

Asian markets swing as uncertainty tempers reopenings

Asian markets fluctuated Thursday after rallying for much of the week, with any gains dragged by profit-taking while concerns over the long-term impact of the virus and worsening China-US relations added to the selling pressure......»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMay 21st, 2020

MPBL: Duremdes discusses resumption of league, plans for fourth season

Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League commissioner Kenneth Duremdes laid out the possibilities that might be executed for the fourth season of the fastest-growing regional basketball league. For starters, Duremdes announced in a memo dated April 28, that the opening of the fourth season of the MPBL will be moved to a later date as June 12 is not feasible with the stalled Lakan Season still has a maximum of seven games left. He also said that next season will also depend on how many teams will join. "Marami kasing teams na tinamaan din nitong [COVID-19] virus. May ilang teams na nagpadala na ng feeler na magte-take ng leave of absence next season," said Duremdes on an Instagram live session with Cedelf Tupas over at the MPBL's official Instagram account. "Napakaimportante nating malaman kung kaya pa ba ng team owners magpatakbo ng team, kapag makita ng league na wala talaga, we might cancel the season." But the commissioner reiterated that these are all just plans and the first objective of the league is to finish the Lakan Season playoffs first, "then we go from there". Another alternative that Duremdes said was the possibility of playing in closed-door venues. "Kung i-allow tayo to finish the Lakan Season with the restriction of no fans allowed, yes. Four teams na lang yan, definitely kailangan na natin ito tapusin." The Chooks-to-Go-backed league once pulled a closed-door affair last March 11 in Game Two of the North Division Finals between San Juan-Go for Gold and Makati-Super Crunch at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Another plan that is subject to the approval of league founder Sen. Manny Pacquiao is a new format that would limit the games of the season. "We will limit the games at magkakaroon tayo ng sariling toournament lang ng South at sariling tournament alone ng North division. Hindi na sila magcro-crossover," Duremdes said. "Magkikita na lang yung champion ng North at South sa National Finals. In that way, malilimit natin yung games." In the 31-team pool Lakan Season alone, the league already played a whopping 498 games including the playoffs, with at least five more games to be played. The fourth season of the MPBL is the second of five seasons Chooks-to-Go will back......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 7th, 2020