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LIST EM: All of the PBA Fiesta Conference Champions

Through 45 seasons, the PBA has always been a three-conference league. The only time that wasn't the case was during the 2000s, when most of the decade was played with only two conferences. The Philippine Cup was naturally retained, and the import-laden tournament was christened as the Fiest Conference. A total of seven Fiesta Conferences were played, the first one was a transitional tournament in 2004 and the rest were played through the six seasons that followed. With the PBA shortening its 45th season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and a two-conference format all the more likely for 2020, now seems like the perfect time to go back and remember all the Fiesta Conference champions.   2004 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Red Bull, 3-1 The first Fiesta Conference was a transitional tournament in 2004, marking the league's official transition to a two-conference format under PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. Ginebra was just the no. 7 seed in the regular season but got the number 2 spot in its group in a crossover quarterfinals that included foreign guest teams.  The Gin Kings then took out Talk 'N Text in the semis and Red Bull in the Finals to take the title. Eric Menk was Finals MVP. 2005 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel Beer def. Talk 'N Text, 4-1 In the Finals featuring the top-2 seeds, no. 2 San Miguel Beer got off to a 2-0 start and handily issued a gentleman's sweep of the Phone Pals. The Beermen only lost two playoff games to win their 17th league title. Danny Ildefonso was the Finals MVP. 2006 Fiesta Conference - Red Bull def. Purefoods, 4-2 Red Bull lost the second-seed playoff to Barangay Ginebra but the Barako got back at the Gin Kings by winning their semifinal series in seven games. Red Bull then beat Purefoods in the Finals for the franchise's third and last PBA championship. Enrico Villanueva was the BPC and Finals MVP. 2007 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. Talk 'N Text, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: Alaska's storybook championship] 2008 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Air21, 4-3 The Gin Kings swept all the individual awards, with Jay-jay Helterbrand being named BPC, Chris Alexander as Best Import, and Ronald Tubid as Finals MVP. However, a banged-up Ginebra team needed seven games to hold off the top-ranked Air21 Express. This would mark as the Gin King's last title until Justin Brownlee became the team's import eight years later. 2009 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel def. Barangay Ginebra, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: That one time Ping won a title with San Miguel Beer] 2010 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. San Miguel, 4-2 With Diamon Simpson as import, Alaska stopped the Talk 'N Text juggernaut to enter the Finals. Trailing 2-3 to a Phone Pals team that won 13 straight games in the elimination round, the Aces rallied to take the series in seven. In the Finals, Alaska took a 3-1 lead before taking down defending champion San Miguel Beer in six. LA Tenorio and Cyrus Baguio were co-Finals MVPs and this marks as coach Tim Cone's final title with the Aces.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnApr 8th, 2020

Forgotten Finals: James Yap and friends combo breaker

Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA today, only half of them have won a championship. While all title wins are special, they’re definitely not created equal. Some just stand out more than others. In this short series, we’ll take a look back at the Forgotten Finals won by the six active PBA teams with rings. The Magnolia Hotshots (under the name of Purefoods TJ Giants) complete the series.   2010 Philippine Cup (4-0 win vs. Alaska) [Related: LIST 'EM: All of the PBA Fiesta Conference Champions] After losing the previous year’s Philippine Cup Finals, Alaska remained a juggernaut, earning the no. 1 seed and a playoff bye. Once the Aces actually saw playoff action, they didn’t lose, sweeping Ginebra in the semifinals on their way to taking on Purefoods for the title. Alaska would never win again. [Related: Forgotten Finals: Captain Hook's Talk 'N Text title] The TJ Giants got the third seed over Ginebra, after beating the Gin Kings on a second tiebreaker.  After initially struggling in the playoffs, having to play a Game 5 in the quarterfinals and trailing San Miguel Beer in the semis, Purefoods would win seven straight games to clinch the championship. In Game 1, despite James Yap and Marc Pingris leading the team in scoring in rebounding, it was role players like Rafi Reavis that pushed Purefoods to a close Game 1 victory. And that’s the story of these Finals, despite it ending in a clean sweep, the TJ Giants had to scrap by and win four close games. In Games 2 and 3, Purefoods won by a combined two points.   James Yap’s 32 points sparked a fourth-quarter comeback from 14 points down but the TJ Giants got the Game 2 win off a Kerby Raymundo free throw that came after a rather controversial foul called on Alaska’s Joe Devance. Game 3 followed mostly the same pattern but without the controversial ending, with Purefoods storming back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to steal a win. Now up 3-0, the TJ Giants would control Game 4, having multiple double-digit leads. After answering every Alaska rally, Purefoods would get the most lopsided win in the series, closing things out with an 86-76 win. James Yap won Finals MVP, leading Purefoods in scoring in all four games.  He was also the Best Player of the Conference, which ultimately set up his second MVP season. Purefoods’ win was the only sweep from 2000-2010 and at the time, the TJ Giants snapped the 7-game finals streak that PBA enjoyed. Prior to the 2010 Philippine Cup Finals, the PBA had five straight title series go a full seven games, the longest streak in league history. Sweeps rarely happen in the PBA, so most end up being Forgotten Finals, just like when Purefoods did it one decade ago.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

Forgotten Finals: James Yap and friends combo breaker

Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA today, only half of them have won a championship. While all title wins are special, they’re definitely not created equal. Some just stand out more than others. In this short series, we’ll take a look back at the Forgotten Finals won by the six active PBA teams with rings. The Magnolia Hotshots (under the name of Purefoods TJ Giants) complete the series.   2010 Philippine Cup (4-0 win vs. Alaska) [Related: LIST 'EM: All of the PBA Fiesta Conference Champions] After losing the previous year’s Philippine Cup Finals, Alaska remained a juggernaut, earning the no. 1 seed and a playoff bye. Once the Aces actually saw playoff action, they didn’t lose, sweeping Ginebra in the semifinals on their way to taking on Purefoods for the title. Alaska would never win again. [Related: Forgotten Finals: Captain Hook's Talk 'N Text title] The TJ Giants got the third seed over Ginebra, after beating the Gin Kings on a second tiebreaker.  After initially struggling in the playoffs, having to play a Game 5 in the quarterfinals and trailing San Miguel Beer in the semis, Purefoods would win seven straight games to clinch the championship. In Game 1, despite James Yap and Marc Pingris leading the team in scoring in rebounding, it was role players like Rafi Reavis that pushed Purefoods to a close Game 1 victory. And that’s the story of these Finals, despite it ending in a clean sweep, the TJ Giants had to scrap by and win four close games. In Games 2 and 3, Purefoods won by a combined two points.   James Yap’s 32 points sparked a fourth-quarter comeback from 14 points down but the TJ Giants got the Game 2 win off a Kerby Raymundo free throw that came after a rather controversial foul called on Alaska’s Joe Devance. Game 3 followed mostly the same pattern but without the controversial ending, with Purefoods storming back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to steal a win. Now up 3-0, the TJ Giants would control Game 4, having multiple double-digit leads. After answering every Alaska rally, Purefoods would get the most lopsided win in the series, closing things out with an 86-76 win. James Yap won Finals MVP, leading Purefoods in scoring in all four games.  He was also the Best Player of the Conference, which ultimately set up his second MVP season. Purefoods’ win was the only sweep from 2000-2010 and at the time, the TJ Giants snapped the 7-game finals streak that PBA enjoyed. Prior to the 2010 Philippine Cup Finals, the PBA had five straight title series go a full seven games, the longest streak in league history. Sweeps rarely happen in the PBA, so most end up being Forgotten Finals, just like when Purefoods did it one decade ago.     — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 10th, 2020

LIST EM: All of the PBA Fiesta Conference Champions

Through 45 seasons, the PBA has always been a three-conference league. The only time that wasn't the case was during the 2000s, when most of the decade was played with only two conferences. The Philippine Cup was naturally retained, and the import-laden tournament was christened as the Fiest Conference. A total of seven Fiesta Conferences were played, the first one was a transitional tournament in 2004 and the rest were played through the six seasons that followed. With the PBA shortening its 45th season due to the COVID-19 outbreak and a two-conference format all the more likely for 2020, now seems like the perfect time to go back and remember all the Fiesta Conference champions.   2004 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Red Bull, 3-1 The first Fiesta Conference was a transitional tournament in 2004, marking the league's official transition to a two-conference format under PBA Commissioner Noli Eala. Ginebra was just the no. 7 seed in the regular season but got the number 2 spot in its group in a crossover quarterfinals that included foreign guest teams.  The Gin Kings then took out Talk 'N Text in the semis and Red Bull in the Finals to take the title. Eric Menk was Finals MVP. 2005 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel Beer def. Talk 'N Text, 4-1 In the Finals featuring the top-2 seeds, no. 2 San Miguel Beer got off to a 2-0 start and handily issued a gentleman's sweep of the Phone Pals. The Beermen only lost two playoff games to win their 17th league title. Danny Ildefonso was the Finals MVP. 2006 Fiesta Conference - Red Bull def. Purefoods, 4-2 Red Bull lost the second-seed playoff to Barangay Ginebra but the Barako got back at the Gin Kings by winning their semifinal series in seven games. Red Bull then beat Purefoods in the Finals for the franchise's third and last PBA championship. Enrico Villanueva was the BPC and Finals MVP. 2007 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. Talk 'N Text, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: Alaska's storybook championship] 2008 Fiesta Conference - Barangay Ginebra def. Air21, 4-3 The Gin Kings swept all the individual awards, with Jay-jay Helterbrand being named BPC, Chris Alexander as Best Import, and Ronald Tubid as Finals MVP. However, a banged-up Ginebra team needed seven games to hold off the top-ranked Air21 Express. This would mark as the Gin King's last title until Justin Brownlee became the team's import eight years later. 2009 Fiesta Conference - San Miguel def. Barangay Ginebra, 4-3 [Related: Forgotten Finals: That one time Ping won a title with San Miguel Beer] 2010 Fiesta Conference - Alaska def. San Miguel, 4-2 With Diamon Simpson as import, Alaska stopped the Talk 'N Text juggernaut to enter the Finals. Trailing 2-3 to a Phone Pals team that won 13 straight games in the elimination round, the Aces rallied to take the series in seven. In the Finals, Alaska took a 3-1 lead before taking down defending champion San Miguel Beer in six. LA Tenorio and Cyrus Baguio were co-Finals MVPs and this marks as coach Tim Cone's final title with the Aces.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 8th, 2020

PBA: What s in a Name? San Miguel Beermen

Name changes happen a lot in the PBA, especially with the league’s company based-teams. It’s equal parts marketing and prestige when it comes to the naming of PBA teams. There are no cities represented here and no need for sponsorships.  Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA, even the pioneers like San Miguel Beer have gone through some name changes over the years, while teams like Columbian juggle through monikers like crazy. However, there are also teams like Alaska that have stayed solid through its brand all along. This series is not about those teams though. This series is about the franchises that have taken advantage of the PBA’s somewhat unique naming convention as we shuffle through their history of changes. What’s in a name, San Miguel Beermen?   TRU Pioneers: Royal Tru-Orange San Miguel was an original team when the PBA was first established in 1975, but the Beermen name wouldn’t come until years later. The team was first known as Royal Tru-Orange, after the soft drink. It took four years and 13 conferences before Royal won a PBA title, that being the 1979 Open Conference after beating Toyota in the Finals.   San Miguel Beermen 1.0 (Early 1980s) The franchise’s first use of the San Miguel Beermen produced two Finals trips in the 1982 Reinforced Filipino Conference and the 1982 Invitational Conference. Facing Toyota for the Reinforced Filipino title, the Beermen lost in seven games. San Miguel then turned around and won the Invitational tournament against Crispa.   San Miguel Beermen 2.0 (1987 Reinforced Conference – 2007 Fiesta Conference) For a good four years in the mid-1980s, the Beermen would carry the name of Gold Eagle Beer and the Magnolia Ice Cream brand before returning as SMB in the final conference of the 1987 season. San Miguel would keep its Beermen name for two decades, winning 15 league championships to build the foundation for their status as the PBA’s winningest franchise. Several dynasties and great teams were under the Beermen banner, the first major one being the 1989 Grand Slam team coached by Norman Black. With players like Mon Fernandez, Hector Calma, Alvin Teng, Samboy Lim, Franz Pumaren, Ricardo Brown, rookie Ato Agustin, and imports Michael Phelps and Ennis Whatley, the Beermen were the top-ranked team in all three conferences and beat Shell, Purefoods, and Anejo for the Grand Slam. After the Grand Slam year, San Miguel would go three full seasons without a title, but would win a championship at least once in each of the next three seasons that followed. 1992 MVP Ato Agustin, Samboy Lim, and Allan Caidic, made sure the Beermen were well taken cared off in the early 1990s before the team would go on a mini cold period. After back-to-back titles in the 1993 Governors’ Cup and the 1994 All-Filipino, San Miguel wouldn’t win another title until a new era of Beermen, led by coach Jong Uichico, took over towards the new millennium. With the pairing of eventual two-time MVP Danny Ilfefonso and Rookie of the Year Danny Seigle, the Beermen returned on top of the PBA mountain in 1999, winning the Commissioner’s Cup and the Governors’ Cup to bring a close to the millennium. As Danny I finally emerged as the MVP, San Miguel defended its two titles in 2000. The Beermen also won the 2001 All-Filipino to complete a trifecta of championships. They actually had a chance for a Grand Slam in 2001, but SMB would lose the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup Finals to Red Bull and Sta. Lucia respectively. Still with the core of Danny I, Danny S, Dondon Hontiveros, and Olsen Racela, San Miguel would end a four-year drought and capture the 2005 Fiesta Conference with a 4-1 win over Talk ‘N Text, the franchise’s 17th title.   Magnolia Beverage Masters (2007-2008 season) The Magnolia name would come back for one season in the late 2000s for mostly uninspiring results. In the 2008 Philippine Cup, the Beverage Masters finished with a 10-8 record and entered the playoffs as the no. 5 seed. They lost in the first round. In the 2008 Fiesta Conference, the Beverage Masters again entered the playoffs as the no. 5 seed with a 10-8 record. They lost in the semis and finished fourth, ending their run with a loss to Red Bull, just like in the All-Filipino.   San Miguel Beermen 3.0 (2009 Philippine Cup – 2011 Commissioner’s Cup) Back as the San Miguel Beermen, the team rebuilt its frontline in an attempt to recreate the Danny Ildefonso-Danny Seigle tandem almost a decade prior. The Beermen dealt the no. 3 pick of the 2008 Draft to Talk ‘N Text to acquire Jay Washington. The pick was used to select Jayson Castro. San Miguel then used a trade package centered around Marc Pingris to bring Arwind Santos to the fold. However, the mega trade happened after the Beermen won the 2009 Fiesta Conference championship for the franchise’s 18th title. Unfortunately, San Miguel’s power moves wouldn’t yield immediate results, losing back-to-back Finals to Alaska and Talk ‘N Text in the 2010 Fiesta Conference and 2011 Philippine Cup respectively. The San Miguel Beermen name would experience an unprecedented result in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup when a 2-9 record landed the team in last place.   Petron Blaze Boosters (2011 Governors’ Cup – 2014 Philippine Cup) Refreshed as the Petron Blaze Boosters, Arwind Santos would lead the team to the championship of the 2011 Governors’ Cup. The title win is significant as the Blaze Boosters stopped Talk ‘N Text from winning a Grand Slam with a seven-game decision in the Finals. Unfortunately, Petron blew a 3-1 lead in the semifinals of the 2012 Philippine Cup, allowing the Tropang Texters to get their win back on their way to back-to-back All-Filipino championships. The infamous Petronovela would follow as the Blaze Boosters would consistently fail to meet expectations. After the semifinals debacle against Talk ‘N Text, Petron finished 9th and failed to make the playoffs in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup. After three underwhelming conferences, the Blaze Boosters would make their way to the Finals of the 2013 Governors’ Cup, only to lose Game 7 to San Mig Coffee. Perhaps the peak of the Petron name in the PBA came in 2012, when the Blaze Boosters selected June Mar Fajardo with the first pick of the Draft.   San Miguel Beermen 4.0 (2014 Commissioner’s Cup – present) Despite reverting back the San Miguel Beermen name, the remnants of Petronovela would remain as the team got booted out in the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup without winning a single game. The true return of the Beermen would come in the 2015 Philippine Cup, beating Alaska in a dramatic Game 7 to win the title. Coached by Leo Austria and with the core five of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot, a new Beermen dynasty would be born. After the 2015 All-Filipino title, San Miguel would beat Alaska two more times in the Finals. The first one was a sweep in the 2015 Governors’ Cup before the Beermen took the Aces down again to win the 2016 Philippine Cup. The “Beeracle” run to win back-to-back All-Filipino titles will be marked in history as the first time a PBA team came back from a 0-3 deficit in a best-of-7 series. San Miguel’s next history-making event came in the 2017 Philippine Cup after the Beermen matched Talk ‘N Text’s earlier feat by becoming the second-ever Perpetual Champions with three straight All-Filipino titles. However, San Miguel has its rival beat by winning a fourth and fifth straight Philippine Cup title in the next two years. The Beermen have also attempted to win a Grand Slam twice in recent years, doing so in 2017 and 2019. Unfortunately, both bids ended at the hands of Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals of the Governor’s Cup. Still, in adding eight championships so far, the Beermen have increased their all-time lead as they now hold 27 league titles. This era also produced arguable the greatest PBA player ever in six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

Forgotten Finals: Captain Hook s Talk N Text title

Out of the 12 active teams in the PBA today, only half of them have won a championship. While all title wins are special, they’re definitely not created equal. Some just stand out more than others. In this short series, we’ll take a look back at the Forgotten Finals won by the six active PBA teams with rings. The TNT KaTropa go online today.   2009 Philippine Cup (4-3 win vs. Alaska) [Related: Forgotten Finals: That one time Ping won a title with San Miguel Beer] Talk ‘N Text and Alaska sure had a great rivalry during the mid-200s. Just two conferences after figuring in a great seven-game Finals in the 2007 Fiesta Conference, the Tropang Texters and the Aces were back at it again, this time contesting the 2009 Philippine Cup title. The Aces still had their core from two years ago led by two-time MVP Willie Miller, while Talk ‘N Text was still Mark Cardona’s team. However, the Tropang Texters had more than enough backup this time, with Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo, Ali Peek, and rookie Jared Dillinger and Jayson Castro joining Captain Hook. Talk ‘N Text also had a new coach in Chot Reyes, who put his first touches of an eventual juggernaut with this 2009 team. [Related: Forgotten Finals: Alaska's storybook championship] Despite Talk ‘N Text reloading, the Tropang Texters were down 0-2 to start the Finals against the top-ranked Aces. LA Tenorio torched TNT for 27 points in Game 1 while Joe Devance, last season’s no. 1 pick acquired by Alaska for rookie Sol Mercado punished the Tropang Texters with 24 points and nine rebounds in a Game 2 victory. Mark Cardona would pick up the scoring pace starting with Game 3, his 23 points leading the Tropang Texters in the most-lopsided game of the series to cut their deficit in half. Talk ‘N Text would score a close win in Game 4 to tie things up. Much like their Finals series two seasons ago, Game 5 would be pivotal for both Talk ‘N Text and Alaska. Much like Game 5 two seasons ago, Willie Miller would play hero. Miller, the BPC winner of the 2009 Philippine Cup, drilled a booming triple to put Alaska up, 95-93. The Aces would hold on for the win as Ren-Ren Ritualo and Harvey Carey both missed their respective game-winning and game-tying shots in the end. Cardona responded with another 23-point performance in Game 6 for the Tropang Texters to save the series. In Game 7, Captain Hook put up another 23 big ones as Talk ‘N Text survived an Alaska rally in a well-played finale at the Big Dome. The Tropang Texters winning the 2009 Philippine Cup is the team’s first championship since the 2003 All-Filipino, which was the franchise’s first-ever PBA title. The team lost three Finals in between. Mark Cardona was the Finals MVP here, and it would be the peak of his career as a Tropang Texter. Cardona was shipped off to Meralco after a 15-3 TNT team failed to advance in the Finals in the next season’s Fiesta Conference. After moving on from Cardona, Chot Reyes handed the reigns to Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro full-time, and the once-again reloaded Tropang Texters would win three straight Philippine Cups from 2011-2013 to become the PBA’s first Perpetual Champions. Mark Cardona has had an unfortunate downward spiral since, especially in the last couple of years. But Talk ‘N Text’s Forgotten Finals can be remembered as the good ol’ days for the mighty Captain Hook.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 9th, 2020

Scrubbed: March Madness leads long list of canceled sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer The world's sports schedule cratered at warp speed Thursday, with one of the biggest events on the U.S. calendar, the fun-filled and colorful college basketball tournament known as March Madness, becoming the first mega-event to be scrubbed due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus. Leaders at all levels of sports, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, tennis and soccer, decided the risk of playing games with the threat of the virus hanging over them was too great despite the billions of dollars — to say nothing of the trophies, pride and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — hanging in the balance. By late in the afternoon of an extraordinary, headline-a-minute day across a pandemic-rattled globe, the NCAA, which regulates March Madness and virtually all major U.S. college sports, basically had no choice. With conferences and individual teams calling off their basketball seasons at breakneck pace, the NCAA followed suit. They scrapped all college winter and spring championships, the highlight of which is the men's basketball tournament — a three-week extravaganza that stands as the biggest event this side of the Super Bowl on the U.S. sports calendar. The cancellation leaves a massive hole in American sports — from campuses across the country, to a growing passel of sports-betting businesses that rely on college hoops money, to say nothing of the hearts of players who were poised to get their first, or last, or only chance to shine on the big stage. All of it was to be covered by CBS and its partners; about 80 percent of the NCAA's $1.05 billion annual budget is bankrolled by the money the networks pay to present the 68-team tournament over the air, on cable and online. “This is bigger than a sport or championship,” said Kansas University coach Bill Self, whose team would've been the likely favorite to win it all. Hours earlier, Kansas and Duke had each taken matters into their own hands, announcing they wouldn't be sending any of their teams to games, no matter the stakes. It wasn't even the most jaw-dropping moment of the morning. That came, fittingly, at one of the world's most renowned sports venues — Madison Square Garden — where at halftime of a Big East Conference tournament game, the PA announcer came on and said the tournament had been called. By then, every major conference, and virtually all of the minor ones, had done the same thing. They were prompted in part by the NCAA's decision a day earlier to hold all its tournament games — which had been scheduled to start next week in nine cities and close April 6 at a 71,000-seat stadium in Atlanta — in front of friends and family and limited “essential” personnel. Only 24 hours later, with the stock market tanking, mixed messages coming out of Washington and no promise of quick relief being offered by world health experts, it became even more clear that gatherings involving thousands of people were hard to justify. Also clear: The NCAA would have trouble assembling an equitable bracket for its tournament, given that most games designed to suss out the most-deserving teams and automatic qualifiers had already been scrubbed. “I’m not a researcher in immunology or infectious disease, but those who are engaged at the NCAA level provided some stark information yesterday,” said Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. The March Madness news meant it will be a world free of basketball for the foreseeable future. A day after the NBA put its season on temporary hiatus, a second member of the Utah Jazz — Donovan Mitchell — tested positive for the coronavirus. The league said its suspension would last for at least 30 days — possibly a conservative guess, as teams undertake the task of identifying any player or referee who has had recent contact with the Jazz, then putting them into isolation for the required two weeks. “What would kill the NBA season is if more players catch it,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an interview on CNBC. He called the hiatus a matter of “us being vigilant, as all businesses should be. Businesses are going to have to be incredibly vigilant, and that's hard.” The NHL also suspended its season, though it did not report any positives for COVID-19. Major League Baseball scrapped spring training and postponed the start of its season, currently scheduled for March 26, for at least two weeks. Before the start of one of the biggest golf tournaments on the calendar, the PGA Tour announced that the last three rounds of The Players Championship, best known for the rowdy gatherings around the island green on the 17th hole, would be played without fans. The same goes for the three events that follow, all of which lead into the Masters, which was, for the time being, slated to go on as scheduled the week of April 6. The LPGA postponed three tournaments, beginning next week, including its first major of the season. Tennis will also be canceling events. The ATP called off men's tournaments for the next six weeks; the WTA said its tournament in South Carolina, set for April 6-12, would not be held as scheduled, with decisions about the rest of the season to come in the next week. NASCAR announced it would race the next two weekends, in Atlanta and Miami, without fans, and IndyCar made the same decision for its race this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. Horse races were going on in several states, though without fans in the stands — leaving the parimutuel wagers to be made online; organizers of the Kentucky Derby were moving forward with plans for the May 2 race. The NFL, never off the radar even in the depths of the offseason, announced a number of changes and cancellations on its schedule of meetings, fan fest and scouting trips — all related to coronavirus. The U.S.-based Major League Soccer said it would shut down for a target period of 30 days. Earlier in the day, soccer leagues and teams scrambled to make changes: —Belgium's soccer league backpedaled on an earlier decision, and decided to close stadiums to fans. —A Champions League game involving Real Madrid was postponed after the Spanish team puts its players in quarantine. —Dutch soccer authorities canceled all matches through the end of the month, including friendlies against the United States and Spain. —Also, a second player from Italy's top soccer division tested positive. All sports in that hard-hit country have been suspended through April 3. For once, there were no major announcements coming out of Tokyo, where conflicting messages about the status of this summer's Olympics have come out of the country, and the IOC, for weeks. Instead, the IOC went ahead with its ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame, an event held in front of the ruined Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. "We are strengthened ... by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world which are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” IOC president Thomas Bach said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

The ten most intriguing NBA free agents for 2019

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com We knew that the postseason would affect free agency. But the idea was that the success or failure of certain teams would affect what their free agents' thoughts about staying or leaving. Unfortunately, the last two games of The Finals brought devastating injuries to two of the three most coveted free agents on the market. Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the world, tore his Achilles in Game 5, just 12 minutes into his return from a calf injury. And Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. The two injuries will certainly have repercussions beyond the two players and the Golden State Warriors. Maybe they already have. With the Western Conference seemingly wide open next season, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly made a deal for Anthony Davis, sending a bevy of young players and future picks to New Orleans so they can team the 26-year-old star with 34-year-old LeBron James ... and maybe another star added in free agency. As always, the free agent market and the trade market are tied together. The pending Davis trade could affect the decisions of players and teams come July 1. And if teams miss out on the free agents they're seeking, they could always fill their cap space by making a trade. With all that in mind, the players listed below aren't necessarily the 10 best free agents (or potential free agents). They're the 10 (actually 12) most interesting in regard to where they're going and what kind of contract they get. For players to be on this list, there needs to be some intrigue regarding their (and/or their team's) decision this summer. That's why Thompson isn't included. 1. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto (Player option) Whether he leaves or not, trading for Leonard last summer was well worth it for the Raptors, who won their first championship, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points per game in the postseason. The Raptors' "load management" program (which limited Leonard to just 60 games in the regular season) clearly worked, and director of sports science Alex McKechnie should be seen as a major asset in the quest to keep Leonard in Toronto. There should be a "run-it-back" sentiment for the new champs, with Danny Green also a free agent and Marc Gasol holding a player option this summer. A short-term deal would make sense, unless Leonard is looking for long-term security, having missed almost all of the 2017-18 season with a leg injury. It's all up to Leonard, maybe the toughest player in the league to read. If he takes his two-way talent elsewhere, the Raptors may have to go in a new direction. Number to know: In the postseason, Leonard had a true shooting percentage of 69.1 percent, the highest mark for a player that averaged at least 30 points per game in the playoffs and won the championship. 2. Kevin Durant, Golden State (Player option) Durant's torn Achilles probably won't scare any team, including the Warriors, from paying him as much as possible. As deep and talented as this free agent class is, the top two guys on this list are in a class by themselves. Rumors have long had Durant ready to leave Golden State and even with his injury, he seems more likely than Thompson to find a new home. But an ESPN report had Thompson's father talking about "unfinished business" after overhearing a conversation between the two injured Warriors. Durant could always put free agency off for a year by exercising his player option and remaining on the Warriors' payroll through his rehab. Number to know: Durant was the first player in NBA history to average 30 points per game in at least 10 playoff games while shooting at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line. 3. Kyrie Irving, Boston The disappointment of the Celtics' season, along with Irving's questionable leadership with a group that underachieved, has taken some of the shine off his star. Irving's injury history also must be taken into consideration. But talent is the most important thing in this league and Irving is one of its most talented players. He's still just 27-years-old and he can still get buckets when buckets are needed. A return to Boston appears far less likely than it did six months ago (especially with Davis being traded elsewhere) and there have been a lot of signals that Irving is bound for Brooklyn. Number to know: In the regular season, Irving had an effective field goal percentage of 56.1 percent with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-best mark among player with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 4. Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, Philadelphia The Sixers lost to the eventual NBA champions on a Game 7 buzzer-beater that bounced on the rim four times before falling through. They're right there. But their starting lineup, which outscored its opponents by more than 21 points per 100 possessions in 334 total minutes (regular season and playoffs), includes three free agents. In regard to future assets, the Sixers didn't give up as much for Butler as they did for Harris. And of course, Butler has more baggage in regard to accepting his role. But, with his defense and his ability to get his own shot, he's is the most important of the three. Harris struggled a bit in the conference semifinals against Toronto and is the least important of the Sixers' three free-agent starters; J.J. Redick's shooting was clearly more critical in the postseason. But Harris isn't easily replaceable and he appears to be the most likely to leave, with a lot of teams looking for versatile forwards. Number to know: In the regular season, Harris shot 41.3 percent on pull-up three-pointers, the second-best mark among 69 players who attempted at least 100. 5. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Walker has expressed some level of loyalty to the Hornets. But immediately after the Davis trade was agreed to, there was a report that Walker would be a "top target" of the Lakers with their cap space. Walker would be an ideal offensive complement to James and Davis, in that he can play off the ball (though he shot less than 35 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season) and take some of the playmaking burden off of James' shoulders. The Hornets, meanwhile, would likely have a tough time upgrading their roster around Walker, with Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller all under contract next season for a total of $85 million. Number to know: Walker led the league with 126 field goal attempts with the score within five points in the last five minutes. That was 43 percent of the Hornets' total (295). His effective field goal percentage on those shots (49.6 percent) ranked 15th among 45 players with at least 50 clutch field goal attempts. 6. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn (Restricted) A finalist for the Most Improved award, Russell took a big step forward this season, both in regard to his production and his maturity. He earned himself an All-Star appearance and helped the Nets reach the playoffs with a 14-win increase from last season. He's only 23-years-old and is one of the league's most flammable shooters. But because he doesn't get to the basket or the free throw line very often, Russell is neither all that efficient (his true shooting percentage of 53.3 percent ranked 66th among 94 guards with at least 500 field goal attempts) nor consistent, and he struggled (shooting 36 percent) in Brooklyn's first-round loss to Philadelphia. If the Nets are targeting another ball-handler in free agency (with Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie already under contract), they'll probably let Russell head elsewhere. Number to know: In the regular season, Russell ranked second with 11.4 pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions per game. He scored 0.89 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the 26th best mark among 44 players that averaged at least five ball-handler possessions. 7. DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, Golden State Cousins hadn't made it back to 100 percent from his Achilles tear before he suffered a torn quad in his second career playoff game. He made it back for The Finals from that injury and showed flashes of his old self with 14 important points in the Warriors' Game 5 win and a big bucket in the final minute of Game 6. But he also struggled on both ends of the floor at times, and the Warriors were outscored with him on the floor in seven of his eight playoff games. Now he goes back on the free agent market with teams still not sure of what they're getting. Looney is an unrestricted free agent at 23-years-old, and he was the Warriors' most important center this season. The Western Conference champs have Looney's Bird rights, but they could also be spending a lot of money to retain Durant and Thompson (and possibly extend Draymond Green). Another team might have a larger role and more money for an improving young big. Number to know: In the regular season, the Warriors' lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Looney scored 121.5 points per 100 possessions and outscored opponents by 18.7 per 100. Those were the best marks for points scored and point differential per 100 possessions among 40 league-wide lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. 8. Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee (Restricted) The Milwaukee Bucks were the best team in the league through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals. But, with four of their top eight players being free agents (or potential free agents) this summer, they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo surrounded by players who can get it done on both ends of the floor. Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are the three key pieces. They're all due a pay raise and they all belong on this list. Brogdon is the restricted free agent, but he's also the youngest of the three (he'll be 27 in December) and the one that could be projected into a larger role on another team. Number to know: Brogdon shot 47.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers, the third-best mark among 223 players who attempted at least 100. 9. Julius Randle, New Orleans (Player option) After five years in the league, Randle is still just 24-years-old. So he's not necessarily a bad fit for David Griffin's plans for the future in New Orleans. But the Pelicans might not be ready to commit the money Randle is seeking (should he opt out of the final year of his contract) after averaging a career-high 21.4 points per game. Defense remains an issue, but Randle has expanded his offensive skill set; he was a respectable 34.4 percent from three-point range this season, taking 18 percent of his shots from beyond the arc (up from six percent over his three previous full seasons). Number to know: Randle averaged 13.2 points in the paint per game, seventh most in the league, and he made more three-pointers (67) than all but one of the six players in front of him. 10. Ricky Rubio, Utah According to Rubio himself, he's not Utah's top priority in free agency. He remains a good defender and one of the league's best passers, but the Jazz need to get more potent offensively if they're going to take the next step. At 31.1 percent, Rubio ranked 153rd in three-point percentage among 163 players with at least 200 attempts. There could be as many as 10 teams (not including the Jazz) in need of a starting point guard this summer, and Rubio could have more value on a team more in need of a distributor. Number to know: The Jazz were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better offensively with both Rubio and Donovan Mitchell on the floor (scoring 110.4 per 100) than they were with Mitchell on the floor without Rubio (104.6). John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst 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 NewsJun 17th, 2019

Raptors a win away from first-ever championship

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kawhi Leonard’s hot hand is sending the Raptors home to Toronto on the cusp of a startling upset for Canada. Leonard out-dueled the Splash Brothers for 36 points and 12 rebounds, and the Raptors moved within one victory of the franchise’s first championship by winning a second straight game on Golden State’s home floor, beating the Warriors 105-92 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) for a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson made a strong return after missing Game 3 with a strained left hamstring and scored 28 points with six three-pointers in what might have been the final game after 47 seasons at Oracle Arena before the team’s move to new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. Stephen Curry added 27 points but shot just 9-for-22 and 2-of-9 from three-point range on the heels of his postseason career-best 47-point outing in a 123-109 Game 3 defeat. Serge Ibaka scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench for the composed and confident Raptors, who for a second straight game found an answer to every Warriors threat at raucous Oracle — where home fans were stunned and silenced when the final buzzer sounded. A huge section of Toronto fans over, repeatedly singing “O Canada!” The two-time defending champions’ quest for a three-peat is suddenly in serious jeopardy. Toronto will take its first try at the title in Game 5 on Monday night (next Tuesday, PHL time) back at Scotiabank Arena. Golden State, still hopeful of injured star Kevin Durant’s return, must stave off elimination to guarantee one more game at Oracle. It would be next Thursday (next Friday, PHL time). Leonard’s 2017 postseason with San Antonio got cut short against the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after he re-injured his troublesome left ankle when Zaza Pachulia’s foot slid under his. He’s picked up where he left off in that game. Leonard’s two jumpers in the final 42 seconds of the third put the Raptors up 79-64 heading into the final 12 minutes. Fred VanVleet then dealt another dagger on the first possession of the fourth with a 30-footer. A bloodied VanVleet then went to the locker room with 9:35 left after being hit in the face by Shaun Livingston’s left elbow when the Warriors guard went up for a shot and VanVleet was just behind him. Replays showed a tooth in the middle of the key even after play resumed. These poised Raptors kept level heads again after falling behind by 11 points in the first half. Pascal Siakam scored 19 for Toronto. Two days earlier, Kyle Lowry was praised for staying calm when shoved on the sideline by Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who received a one-year ban by the team and NBA along with a $500,000 fine for the incident. Now, the Raptors as first-time finalists and in their 24th year of existence can bring Canada its first NBA championship. Toronto outscored Golden State 37-21 in the decisive third, a complete reverse of the Warriors’ dominance after halftime with an 18-0 run in the Game 2 victory. Draymond Green delivered another impressive all-around performance with 10 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Warriors coach Steve Kerr challenged his team to do a better job defensively and Golden State did so early but couldn’t handle Toronto’s depth. Kevon Looney, a key backup big man, scored 10 points for the Warriors after it was initially believed he would be out the remainder of the series because of fractured cartilage near his right collarbone. He was hurt in the first half of Game 2. Looney drew huge applause as he checked into the game at the 6:45 mark of the first. Danny Green, who hit six three's in Game 3, began 0-for-6 with five missed three's before finally connecting from deep midway through the fourth. His 48th three-pointer in the finals tied him with Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher for seventh place on the NBA list. TIP-INS Raptors: Toronto overcame being outrebounded 29-18 in the first half and a 42-38 deficit overall. ... The Raptors were 10-of-32 from deep after making 17 three's in Game 3, but converted 23-of-24 free throws Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Warriors: The Warriors’ streak this year of 19 straight postseason games scoring 100 points ended. It was 25 dating to last season’s run. ... Golden State fell to 4-2 this postseason in games following a loss. ... Livingston played in his 100th career playoff game with the Warriors, the fifth in team history to reach the mark. ... The Warriors held a closed pregame shootaround 2.5 hours before game time. ATTLES’ PRESENCE Hall of Famer Al Attles, the Warriors’ former general manager, coach and player, attended Game 4. It was the first game in approximately eight months for the 82-year-old Attles, who has had health issues. DURANT’S STATUS Durant missed his ninth straight game since the injury May 8 (May 9, PHL time) in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets. Kerr is done providing every detail and step of Durant’s rehab progress. “We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6. And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire,” Kerr said. “There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not. So tonight he’s not playing.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

Five things we learned from Game 3 of the 2019 Finals

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com OAKLAND – Five things we learned from the Toronto Raptors’ 123-109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the 2019 Finals Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) at Oracle Arena: 1. What Stephen Curry learned … Curry was remarkable in Game 3, consciously seizing more of Golden State’s offensive burden to make up for Klay Thompson’s and Kevin Durant’s absences and turning that desperation into something historic. With 47 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, the Warriors point guard became only the ninth man to score at least 45 points in a Finals game. The lesson in that? Curry learned for a night what it has felt like for LeBron James on many such occasions. James put himself on that specific list a year ago when he logged 51 points, eight board and eight assists against Curry’s team in Game 1, same court. Like Curry, James’ team lost that night as well. Struggling mightily in something of a one-against-five predicament is the sort of things James has done often, while Curry never had faced it during Golden State’s five-year run to The Finals. They both -- James in the past and Curry on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) -- had legit NBA players around them. But the responsibility to put up points fell in both cases mostly on their shoulders. This was even a chance to revisit the 2015 Finals MVP selection, which attracted some attention on social media Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) over bogus speculation about the voting process. Andre Iguodala won the award that June, getting seven votes from the panel of media reps to James’ four. Curry got no votes. The point was, Curry had as a single game Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) what James had as an entire series in ’15. He averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, scoring 38.5 percent of Cleveland’s points (215-of-561) while assisting on 52.7 percent of his teammates’ baskets while he was on the court. Now Curry is the guy in position, if Golden State loses the series, to get a few MVP votes in a losing effort. By the way, Jerry West is the only player to win the Finals MVP trophy in a losing effort. And West is one of the nine to score 45 or more – he did it three times, but his Lakers teams went 1-2 in those games. (The others: Michael Jordan three times, Bob Pettit, Elgin Baylor, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain and Allen Iverson once each. Their teams all won on their big scoring nights.) 2. Is the scoreboard broken? It’s tempting to say that the Warriors’ attack is in broken-record mode, except the resurgence of vinyl might not be sufficient yet to bring that phrase back into the mainstream. So we’ll go with a cultural reference that’s more classic than archaic. Think of The Beatles’ “Revolution 9,” but substitute “109… 109… 109…” Yeah, it’s been about as monotonous and unsatisfying for Golden State as it was on the White Album. At least Warriors coach Steve Kerr was somewhat bemused by his team’s scoreboard consistency. In each game of these Finals, Golden State has scored 109 points. “I just knew we were going to score 109 points because that’s all we’re going to do the rest of this series,” Kerr said. “So if we’re going to keep scoring 109, we got to keep them to 108.” The Warriors kept Toronto to 104 points in Game 2. Some of that was to their credit, some to the Raptors’ misfires and mid-game chill. The simplest stat? Toronto launched 38 three-pointers in both games. The night the Raptors made 11, they lost. When they made 17, they won. Getting Thompson back for Game 4 could make a big difference there. He is one of Golden State’s best defenders. For that matter, Durant’s length could assert itself as a defensive weapon, too, if he comes back later in the series. As for 109 being a winning points total, here is some background: taken in isolation, averaged over a full Finals, that would have been plenty to win 19 of the past 20 championships. The lone exception? In 2017, when Cleveland averaged 114.8 ppg yet lost because Golden State was putting up 121.6 nightly. In 2018, the Warriors averaged 116 points to the Cavaliers’ 101. The only other times a Finals team in the past 20 years averaged within five points of 109 were the Spurs in 2015 (105.6) and in 2007 (104.4) and the Lakers in 2002 (106.0) and 2000 (104.8). Obviously, a few of those were in the game’s relative “dark ages” for use of the 3-ball, but all four won championships. The Warriors are scoring enough points to win. 3. ‘Boogie’ fever has broken   DeMarcus Cousins called his decision to sign with Golden State for a cut-rate contract, while rehabbing from an Achilles injury, his “chess move.” He wound up joining the defending champions and favorite to three-peat, and got his game back in time to contribute. Cousins subsequently suffered a quadriceps injury but returned in time to participate in The Finals. Only thing is, he looked like he was back playing checkers in Game 3. The Warriors center stood out Sunday (Monday, PHL time), scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. But those numbers drooped to four points, three boards, three turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting in Game 3. Cousins went from plus-12 impact in Game 2 to minus-12 Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The big man looked a step slow and appeared to be bothered by Toronto’s length, in the forms of Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka. With little lift these days, he’s playing a little smaller than his 6'11", 270-pound specs. And given how long he was off and the mere eight minutes he got in Game 1, what Cousins did in Game 2 was starting to look more adrenaline-fueled than a reliable return to form. Since Curry handled just about everything else for Golden State in Game 3, he was asked afterward about Cousins’ “regression.” The point guard handled the awkward moment well -- being asked a critical question about a teammate might have tempted Curry to blow it off or lie. Instead, he talked of the Warriors’ shared responsibility on defense and noted a few calls offensively that didn't go Cousins' way. Then Curry added: “Like any great player, if you have a rough game, that resiliency to bounce back and the confidence to know that you can still go out there and impact the game, that’s something that he’ll bring, and we all will follow suit for sure.” 4. Danny Green’s big moment Understandably, when an All-Star and potential Kia MVP candidate gets traded, the deal becomes all about him. Next, folks focus on the key player or players swapped out and how the move might work for the other team. Only then do we play much attention to the guy or guys accompanying the All-Star to his new destination. That’s how it’s been for Danny Green for much of the 2018-19 season. Green and Kawhi Leonard were teammates in San Antonio for seven seasons. They went to two Finals together with the Spurs, winning rings in 2014. But when Leonard wanted out after an injured and rancorous 2017-18, the deal the Spurs put together with Toronto shipped out Danny Green, too. The reality of NBA trades is that salaries must match up, so teammates often become collateral damage to even up the dollar sufficiently to satisfy league rules. Sometimes, a teammate is thrown into a deal because he and the star are chums. A familiar face gives the featured guy some comfort -- or someone to carry his bags. But Green was a helpful playoff performer in his own right with the Spurs -- in his 12 Finals games before this year, he had made 52 percent of his three-pointers. And in 2013 he made 27 of them against the Miami Heat, a Finals record that was his for all of three years until Curry drained 32 in 2016. Green struggled with his shot in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, going 4-for-23 on three-pointers. But his marksmanship early in Game 3 and against near the end of the third quarter propelled the Raptors’ victory. 5. Those rebounds are offensive   Toronto dominated on the offensive glass 15-6 in Game 2 and lost. Golden State dominated on the offensive glass 13-5 in Game 3 and lost. Typically, that’s a positive category for the team that wins it, something coaches hate when the other guys are reclaiming their own misses time and again. But lately, the demerits associated with offensive rebounds have loomed larger than the benefits. You grab a shot you or your teammate missed, that ought to be a good thing. But the Raptors in Game 2 (37.2 percent) and the Warriors in Game 3 (39.6 percent) were beset by inaccuracy, so there were more offensive rebounds to be had, period. The other down side of a generally positive stat is how you go about getting them. If you get overeager and the defense controls the errant shot, you might denude your transition defense. Both the Raptors and the Warriors in Games 2 and 3 respectively built considerable edges in second-chance points off their offensive rebound totals. Toronto had a 23-0 scoring advantage Sunday (Monday, PHL time), yet lost by five. Golden State held it 23-12 Wednesday, yet lost by 14. The losing team in both cases slightly won the battle of fast-break points, but offensive-rebounding strategy still forces a choice on teams. “We have a general kind of rule of thumb that once a shot goes up, we tell our guys to make a really quick, good decision,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before Game 3. “Either they're going hard to the offensive rebound or they're going hard to defense transition. … There's certain moments of the game – I mean, some of those late are almost scrambles, right, you're behind five and you're throwing it up there and everybody's trying to rebound, just to keep the game alive as well.” It’s a stat worth watching, even if it’s inversely related lately to the games’ outcomes. Sing it loud, sing it proud ???????? #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/8HfjoM9Cht — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) June 6, 2019 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 7th, 2019

Things to know about these most-international NBA Finals

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press TORONTO (AP) — Sometime in the next couple weeks, either the Toronto Raptors or Golden State Warriors will proclaim themselves to be world champions. They won’t be true “world” champions, of course. But these NBA Finals have a very distinct international feel. [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] Game 1 of the series on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) is in Canada, the first time a finals game will be played outside the U.S. Raptors President Masai Ujiri was born in Nigeria. There are players from eight different countries — the U.S., along with Canada (Chris Boucher), Spain (Marc Gasol), Britain (OG Anunoby), Cameroon (Pascal Siakam), Congo (Serge Ibaka), Australia (Andrew Bogut) and Sweden (Jonas Jerebko). “It says a lot that the first NBA Finals outside of America is being played here,” Ujiri said. “Maybe one day it will be real ‘world champions’ or something, but this is what we dream of.” It’s even a homecoming of sorts for Warriors guard Stephen Curry, again. His first four trips to the finals pitted him against Cleveland, not far from Akron, Ohio — where he and LeBron James both were born. Toronto has even more direct ties than Cleveland does for Curry; his wife Ayesha was born and raised in Toronto until she was 14, and his father Dell Curry played for the Raptors. So Stephen Curry lived in Toronto for a bit, and went to school there. “A lot of family history,” Stephen Curry said. The finals will be aired in 215 countries, three Canadian networks will air the series live (one of them in French), and broadcasters speaking in 50 different languages will work the games. There are a half-dozen networks from Australia, Estonia, Hong Kong and New Zealand airing the finals for the first time. More of what to know going into this series: FAREWELL, ORACLE Game 4 or Game 6 of this series will be the last time the Warriors call Oracle Arena home. The team is moving from Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. The Warriors have played more than 2,000 games at Oracle, and since this run of NBA Finals appearances began when Steve Kerr took over as coach five years ago they are a staggering 218-40 in their soon-to-be-former home building. “You cannot tell the story of professional basketball without including Oracle,” said ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, a former Warriors coach. “Those fans have been incredibly loyal from the beginning to the end. ... As a former coach, as a former player coming into that building, as an analyst, it’s as good as it gets.” STILL WAITING With Toronto now in the finals for the first time, that means there are only six active franchises that still haven’t been to the championship series. The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are still waiting for their first trip to the NBA Finals. MONEY MATTERS The Warriors and the Raptors are playing for a little bit of money — $1,295,117, to be exact. That’s the difference between winning the finals and losing the finals, at least in terms of the take from the NBA playoff pool. The Warriors are already guaranteed $4,435,312 from the playoff pool; the Raptors have clinched $4,325,888. This year’s playoff pool was $21,676,510, which all 16 postseason teams shared. No playoff team got less than $323,506. Milwaukee got the most, by far, of any non-finals team — after finishing with the NBA’s best record and reaching the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks will share $2,516,774. SECOND TO ONE Golden State is in the finals for the fifth consecutive year. That’s the second-longest such streak in NBA history, only to Boston’s run of 10 consecutive appearances from 1957 through 1966. Boston (this time in 1984 through 1987, separate from the 10-straight streak), Miami (2011-2014), Cleveland (2015-2018) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1982-1985) had all reached the finals in four consecutive seasons. FINISHING STRONG Even with the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference locked up, the Raptors finished the regular season with a flourish — winning seven of their last eight games. This was why. A 58-24 record meant the Raptors finished a game ahead of Golden State’s 57-25 mark, and that’s why Game 1 of this series is in Toronto. A good omen for the Raptors: Under the current playoff format, teams with home-court advantage in the NBA Finals have ultimately prevailed 26 out of 35 times. ’NOVA NATION It’s been a long time since a Villanova player won a championship ring, and even longer since a Villanova player actually played in a series where his team won the title. Kyle Lowry is looking to change all that. The Raptors’ point guard — who played for Jay Wright at Villanova — is in the NBA Finals for the first time. He’s looking to be the first Villanova player to win a ring since John Celestand got one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000; Celestand didn’t appear in any playoff games that season. The last player from Villanova to actually play in a victorious NBA Finals was Chris Ford with Boston in 1981. Lowry spoke on the eve of Game 1 about the lessons he learned from Wright that still apply. “If you make a mistake, apologize, kind of just accept everything,” Lowry said. “Accept everything as a man and bounce back from it. If anything negative, just bounce back, take it and keep going. I think those are the things that stick with me today. I never shy from anything, I never shy from negative criticism, constructive criticism, I take it all, I understand it, learn from it, digest it and move on.” RECORD CHASING Stephen Curry already has the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a career, with 98. He enters this series with 247 attempted 3s in his finals appearances, four shy of tying LeBron James for the most in NBA history. And while not a record, here is an odd stat: If Shaun Livingston makes his first shot of these finals, he’ll pass Wilt Chamberlain and move into fourth place on the NBA Finals all-time shooting percentage list. STARTING EARLY The May 30 (May 31, PHL time) start date for these finals is the earliest for the NBA’s title series since 1986, when the Houston-Boston matchup began on May 26. So the 2019 finals started earlier than has been the norm. That doesn’t mean they’ll be over early. If they go the distance, they’ll end on June 17 (June 18, PHL time) — nine days later than last season’s final game......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 30th, 2019

Jazz extend win streak to seven; Knicks top Warriors

The Jazz are now second only to defending champions Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference standings after their seventh win in a row......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2021

Bucks, Lakers, Nets steamroll opponents in NBA Christmas day games

Last season's Eastern Conference Kings Milwaukee Bucks were the biggest winners of the day with a 39-point beatdown of erstwhile contenders Golden State Warriors, 138-99, to send the former champions to a 0-2 start to the season......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 26th, 2020

Lessons learned from RVing

Rep. Bernadette “BH” Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon Party-list is urging the House committee on the welfare of children and the House leaders to expedite work on consolidating the three House bills against child marriage, so that a bicameral conference committee can be convened with their Senate counterparts as soon as the House approves the substitute bill......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 24th, 2020

No conditions in China’s move to prioritize PH as vaccine recipient — Sta. Romana

China has not imposed any condition when it included the Philippines as among the priority nations to gain access to its potential coronavirus vaccine, according to a Filipino diplomat. Amb. Jose Santiago Sta. Romana Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said China instead reminded the country to prepare its cold storage facilities amid the highly anticipated breakthrough in vaccine development. China will hopefully announce its mass production of the coronavirus vaccine before the end of the year or early next year, Sta. Romana said during an online Palace press briefing. “Hopefully, mass production and distribution will happen in the near future, as early as November and December in terms of production. And it will depend on our capability to receive the vaccines in terms of our facilities, in terms of distribution,” he said.  “The prospects are bright in terms of a breakthrough in vaccine,” he added. Sta. Romana made clear that the cold storage facilities for the potential COVID-19 vaccines are not conditions set by China but simply a reminder to ensure effective distribution of the vaccine.  “It’s just a reminder that if you get the vaccine and you don’t have cold chain storage, then it’s useless so you have to prepare,” he said, citing information from Chinese drug companies.  He said even if the Philippines is in the “priority list,” the distribution of the vaccine will be a challenge. He said the vaccines must be stored in “freezing conditions” to keep its efficacy.  “If exposed to tropical weather or to normal weather conditions, the vaccine could lose its effectiveness,” he said.So far, Sta. Romana said the vaccines being developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firms have entered phase 3 of the clinical trials. One of the potential vaccines have been approved for emergency use for health workers and other government frontliners. “The Chinese will make an announcement in the near future and then they’ll start their mass production. And once there is the mass production, then I think there will be distribution. Hopefully, before the end of the year; but surely by the first quarter of next year,” he said.  Asked if China has imposed any condition on the Philippines in exchange for the vaccine supply, Sta. Romana said: “No, not at all. Actually, we’re the ones, our condition is that it should pass our local requirements.” When asked if Beijing has pledged the amount of vaccines and if these will be given to Manila for free, Sta. Romana said the matter would entail more discussion. “I cannot give you a definitive answer right now but definitely in terms of number, you know, how they will do it kasi it depends on the—they’re talking of hundreds of millions in terms of production dito sa China. So, the question is iyong distribution and deployment,” he said. “They’re preparing their manufacturing facilities for the mass production of vaccines the moment approval is announced,” he added. Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado has assured that the government has funds that will be needed for the establishment of the cold storage facilities for the coronavirus vaccines. “Surely, as the sun rises in the east, there will be funds for that because the President will never allow that we will run short of the requirements to make sure that we have the storage facilities for all of these vaccines,” he said in the same online press conference. Last week, President Duterte expressed confidence about the safety of the vaccines being developed by China, citing the Asian neighbor is a modern country. He said the government has funds for the vaccine purchase, adding he was just waiting for China or Russia to contact him. “I’d be glad to open up my sleeves because I am confident with their vaccine,” he added......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2020

Celtics dominate to push defending champions Raptors to brink

The Boston Celtics blew out the Toronto Raptors, 111-89, on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time), pushing the reigning NBA champions to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 8th, 2020

Big ‘D’ gives Celtics runaway win over Raptors in Game 5

      The Boston Celtics blew out the Toronto Raptors, 111-89, on Monday, pushing the reigning NBA champions to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The Celtics, who had lost two straight as the Raptors clawed their way back into the best-of-seven series, took a 3-2 lead and can clinch a place in the conference […].....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 8th, 2020

Zamboanga siblings out to rule ONE as champions

"Hopefully, if we're both successful in our next fight, I also want us to achieve that feat as brother and sister champions," Denice said in Filipino during an online press conference......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 28th, 2020

For Mike Nieto, all roads lead to leading

Mike Nieto's leadership is not just for the basketball court. Apparently, his voice carries just as much weight inside the Nieto household in Cainta. "Hanggang bahay, umaabot yung pagli-lead ko," he shared with a laugh. "Rinig na rinig palagi boses ko sa bahay. Since I've proven to them na I can be a leader sa court, siyempre, I can also be a leader dito sa bahay." What does that mean exactly? Well, let's just say that whenever the Nieto family decides they want and need some quality time together, it's the 23-year-old who sets the time and the place where it would happen. "I think nasanay na rin kasi sila na ako ang palaging nagsasalita kahit sa ganyang bagay so most of the time, ako na talaga nagsasabi saan at anong oras kami pupunta," he said. This is not at all that surprising as when you talk about Mike Nieto, you talk about leadership. That has long been the calling card of the 6-foot-2 swingman - from his days as a Blue Eaglet to his time as a Blue Eagle and from his stint in Batang Gilas to his current run in the Gilas Pilipinas pool. But… Why do people say that in the first place? What is it with Mike Nieto that just speaks, leader? FTW: For The tWin To get the answer, we need to go back to the start. As in, the very, very start. Technically, Mike is the leader of the four Nieto siblings as he is the firstborn of Ateneo de Manila legend Jett and super mom and dentist Girlie. Matt is his brother, but is younger by two minutes. Make no mistake, though, the twins have always gotten along. "Kami ni Matt, ever since, close na talaga kami. We started playing basketball at the age of six and from then on, naging magkasama na kami sa lahat ng bagay," Mike said. He then continued, "Even course namin sa college, pareho kaya almost lahat ng classes namin, classmates kami. Ever since talaga, unusual na hindi kami magkasama." Indeed, the Nieto twins have always been some sort of a package deal. Hence, the reports of their commitment to Ateneo for college had headlines such as "Ateneo scores 'twin kill' as Nieto brothers commit to play for Blue Eagles." Through and through, however, Mike was thought to be the leader - even though Matt is the point guard. The reason for that? Because "Big Mike" is more vocal. And why is he more vocal" Well, because he had a two minute headstart on "Matty Ice" at letting his voice be heard. Seriously, though, Mike said it was just because he doesn't waste any time at all in being vocal - and that's why he's being heard first and more often. "Siguro, mas maingay lang kasi ako kay Matt. Ako kasi, kapag may nakita akong mali sa ginagawa ng teammates ko, siguradong makakarinig agad sila sa akin," he shared. He then continued, "Hindi ako papayag na lilipas ang isang bagay na alam kong makakasama sa team. Talagang maglalabas at maglalabas ako ng mga salita hanggang ma-solve ang problema." That doesn't mean that Matt doesn't lead, though. As his twin put it, "Matt is the leader on the court. That's the assignment Coach Tab [Baldwin] gave him and I think he has done well with that." Well, yeah, Matt has three rings as court general of the Blue Eagles' dynasty to show for that. LOL: Lead out Loud It was another court general altogether, however, who had made the biggest mark on Mike Nieto. While he never was a point guard due to his wide frame, he was always trying to emulate one of the best ball-handlers in the history of Philippine basketball. "Jimmy Alapag is my role model when it comes to leadership," he said. "I'm just very lucky that for a long time now, he would talk to me on how I can affect the team positively on and off the court." When Alapag was in his prime as captain of Gilas Pilipinas, Nieto was put on the pedestal as skipper of Batang Gilas. While he knew full well that was a tall task, he was also eager to prove himself worthy. "Sa Batang Gilas under coach Jamike [Jarin], he made me team captain kahit second year high school pa lang ako. But that made me realize na I have the capabilities of being a leader," he said. With that, Mike had the responsibility of making sure the likes of Paul Desiderio, Richard Escoto, Jollo Go, Jolo Mendoza, and Renzo Navarro were kept in line. And from then on, he just did not stop keeping at it. Whether it be as the Jrs. MVP as a Blue Eaglet or a rotation regular as a Blue Eagle, Nieto's biggest contribution has always been his leadership. "Being a leader is never easy. At the end of the day, you have to gain the trust of your teammates and your coaches - that's the hardest part," he said. Ask his teammates from high school, many of whom were still his teammates come college, and they would say they always have his back. "Buti na lang nakuha ko ang tiwala ng lahat ng tao na nakapaligid sa akin. Kaya rin ako nag-succeed being the team captain ng every team na nagiging part ako," he said. While he has always had the full faith of longtime teammates and good friends Thirdy Ravena, Gian Mamuyac, Mendoza, and of course, twin Matt, Mike could only acknowledge that it was another challenge altogether being the voice of the team that swept the season. "Ang malaking naging difference ngayong college from high school, kinailangan kong magsalita ng English mas madalas," he said, through chuckles. With foreigners such as Ange Kouame and Filipino-foreigners like Raffy Verano, Nieto, indeed, did have to make sure his communication lines were crystal clear. The thing about leaders, though, is that they give their all in anything and everything - whether that be giving a pep talk or passing the message to somebody like Kouame who only started learning English in 2017. IMO: In My Opinion And the thing about leaders? They do not necessarily care about themselves. Imagine Mike Nieto, a Jrs. MVP, a team captain for Batang Gilas, a literal blue-blood in Katipunan. Do you know his averages through their three-peat? In 47 games total, he saw 14.2 minutes of action and had 5.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Still, that did not matter at all. All that mattered for Mike are all those Ws. "To be a leader, you have to prove palagi that you can lead on and off the court," he said. "I think yun ang napatunayan ko kay coach Tab - na handa akong i-sacrifice ang personal goals ko para sa ikabubuti ng team. Wala akong pakialam sa sarili ko since ang nasa utak ko lang is kung ano ang makabubuti para sa team namin." But did he? Did Nieto prove himself to Coach Tab - a coach who has gone around the world and seen it all? The talented tactician's statement right after Ateneo completed its perfect run through UAAP 82 speaks volumes. “Look at all of us and think about where we’re gonna be in 10 or 15 years, you’ll forget most of us,” he said in the post-game conference where he sat alongside the Nieto twins, Ravena, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong. “But you won’t forget Mike Nieto.” Coach Tab then went on to explain why he said so. As he put it, "Mike is a natural leader. Mike is a communicator. Mike is a thinker. In terms of touching people, making lives better, and making sure that everybody around him has a better chance than what he has, that’s our captain." High praise coming from the very mentor who has been getting nothing but high praise. Safe to say, though, Mike has proven himself to coach Tab. TBC: To Be Continued In doing so, Mike Nieto has also made it possible for the two of them to continue working together. Mike, twin Matt, fellow Blue Eagle Go, University of the East's Rey Suerte, and San Sebastian College-Recoletos' Allyn Bulanadi were the first five names listed for the Gilas pool. The likes of Ravena, Dwight Ramos of Ateneo, Justine Baltazar of De La Salle University, Dave Ildefonso then of National University, and the University of the Philippines foursome of Javi and Juan Gomez de Liano, Kobe Paras, and Jaydee Tungcab also made the list not long after. But the fact remains that "Big Mike" - he of zero starts, but three titles in a row in his last three years in blue and white - was one of the first names there. With that, he is now one of the few Batang Gilas players who have successfully gotten promoted to the Men's team. "Of course, sino bang ayaw i-represent ang bansa natin, 'di ba? That's why I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be part of the Gilas pool," he said. He then continued, "That's why I've been working on my game even harder so that I can provide whatever Gilas needs from me." Of course, what Gilas would need from Nieto is, first and foremost, his leadership. After all, that is still and would always be his greatest strength. To do so, though, the youngster would have to prove himself yet again - not only to Filipinos who are forever invested in their national team, but more importantly, his teammates, many of whom are already superstars in the PBA. For Mike, however, this is nothing new - nothing new at all. "Ever since I was in grade school, people have been doubting that I can progress my game to the next level. What we can't forget is that at the end of the day, it's in your hands if you want to prove them wrong or prove them right," he said. He then continued, "I actually enjoy these kinds of moments since dito talaga lalabas ang totoong pagkatao mo. Ang sigurado ko lang, I will fight for my spot in Gilas." And so, from a successful high school career and then an even more successful college career, Nieto is now seeking success as part of the Gilas pool. Does he deserve to be there? That's for the haters to hate, the doubters to doubt, and the bashers to bash. And that's for Mike Nieto to lead them out of the darkness. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 27th, 2020

2020 king of recruiting crown remains on UP’s head

Who was our King of Recruiting in 2018? Find out here. Who was our King of Recruiting in 2019? Find out here. --- From 2007 to 2015, the University of the Philippines only had 13 wins to show in 126 games total. That time is self-deprecatingly called in Diliman as the dark days. Due to that disappointing standing, the Fighting Maroons had the toughest time bringing in recruits. And due to that lack of pieces to the puzzles, they lost even more. Safe to say, State U was stuck in a vicious cycle in the dark days. That’s not to say they didn’t have blue-chip recruits back then as in their time, all of Woody Co, Mark Juruena, Mike Gamboa, Kyles Lao, Jett Manuel, and Mikee Reyes were among the best high school players. Only, a blue-chip recruit or two does not make a team. Fast forward to now and oh, how things have changed. Last year, UP was hailed as ABS-CBN’s King of Recruiting alongside University of the East. “On the strength of the transfers of Kobe Paras and Ricci Rivero, the Fighting Maroons… are worthy of the title,” it said then. And the season before that, the maroon and green was also up there with the best of them in terms of recruitment, having brought in the likes of eventual Season MVP Bright Akhuetie, Will Gozum, and Jaydee Tungcab. Indeed, there was nowhere to go but up. That has only continued this year as UP has left no doubt that it is now a force to reckon with in terms of recruitment. Early on, they already had a solid haul in Joel Cagulangan, once the best point guard in high school, and tireless workhorse Malick Diouf. And then, the shock of shocks. As it turned out, Nazareth School of National University stalwarts Carl Tamayo and Gerry Abadiano were going to be Fighting Maroons. Meaning, for the first time in recent history, the most promising prospect coming out of high school is headed to Diliman. Not only that, State U also answered its biggest question heading into next season – the question at point guard, filling in for Jun Manzo. But as it turned out, they weren’t done just yet - no, our friends, they weren’t done just yet. Tamayo and Abadiano’s departure from National U was shocking, without a doubt, but CJ Cansino’s exit from University of Sto. Tomas was even more so. Cansino, against his will, decided to move on from his alma mater since 2015 due to personal reasons. Fortunately for him, he landed on his feet. Now, the Fighting Maroons have ready-made replacement for Rivero as well as a leader in the shades of Paul Desiderio for UAAP 84. And that, our friends, is why we have no choice but to put the 2020 King of Recruiting crown on UP’s head once more. Tamayo and Abadiano are the bluest of blue-chip recruits this year and Cagulangan, Cansino, and Diouf are among the most talented transferees, but also joining them in the maroon and green will be scoring machine RC Calimag from La Salle Green Hills, burly big Miguel Tan from Xavier High School, Filipino-American playmaker Sam Dowd, Filipino-Australian tower Ethan Kirkness, physical forward Jancork Cabahug from University of Visayas, and versatile wing CJ Catapusan from Adamson University. The former Bullpups are guaranteed ato be contributors even as rookies while Calimag, Tan, and Dowd are going to shore up a bench that had just lost Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan. Of course, Diouf, Kirkness, Cansino, Cabahug, and Cagulangan are still serving residency, but when they will be eligible, they will get a shot at a squad that will look brand new. All of Bright Akhuetie, J-Boy Gob, David Murrell, Noah Webb, and Rivero are graduating players while Paras is only guaranteed to play one more year. That means that after Season 83, the Fighting Maroons may very well have to fill six spots. That means that UP is not only beefing up for UAAP 83, it is also securing its future. If not for the shock of shocks, though, the crown would have been claimed by De La Salle University which sent a statement that it is back and better than ever. Justine Baltazar and Aljun Melecio may be playing their fifth and final years in college, but the green and white’s future has only brightened following this prolonged preseason. First and foremost, Kevin Quiambao, the third leg in that National U tripod of talent out of high school, has the capability and confidence to follow in the footsteps of Baltazar. Hopefully, he will be eligible for Season 83, but if not, what’s certain is he will be playing in UAAP 84. Alongside him as pieces for the future are super scorers CJ Austria and Emman Galman, all-around swingman Joshua Ramirez, and Filipino-Americans Jeromy Hughes, Kameron Vales, and Philips bros. Benjamin and Michael. Among all those, Jonnel Policarpio, likened to a young Arwind Santos, has the highest upside, but the Fil-Ams have much potential as well. And don’t forget that Evan Nelle, the primetime playmaker from San Beda University, is just getting primed and prepped to take the reins when Melecio leaves. Of course, the caveat here is that we are all in uncharted territory due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis. And in that light, the next season of the UAAP remains far away and a lot could still happen until then. While majority of the local blue-chip recruits have already committed, talents from abroad and transferees from other schools could still come and change the game. With that being said, there remains no doubt that UP and La Salle have made the biggest noise in the offseason. However, it’s not actually the Fighting Maroons or the Green Archers who got the lion’s share of the best graduating players in the 2020 NBTC 24. Yes, that honor belongs to Lyceum of the Philippines University which is finally reaping the rewards of its rising Jrs. program with NCAA 95 Jrs. MVP John Barba and Batang Gilas playmaker Mac Guadana being promoted as full-fledged Pirates. Guadana could do it all and looks like the next great guard in the Grand Old League while fearless slasher is Barba is a perfect complement to him. Add another fiery guard in John Bravo and sweet-shooting big man Carlo Abadeza and LPU has restocked its coffers after losing Marcelino twins Jaycee and Jayvee and Cameroonian powerhouse Mike Nzeusseu. In all though, the 2020 NBTC 24 was dominated by UP… and San Beda. Of the annual rankings’ 15 graduating players, four would be Fighting Maroons and another four would be Red Lions. Yes, San Beda’s grassroots program is back on track with its Jrs. championship core all remaining in red and white. Rhayyan Amsali, ranked no. 1 in the 2020 NBTC 24, is the most college-ready high school player while Justine Sanchez is a long-limbed forward who could turn out to be the next Calvin Oftana, you know, the NCAA 95 MVP. Yukien Andrada, meanwhile, is only continuing to develop his two-way game and Tony Ynot is a 3-and-D weapon who had even left an impression on Jalen Green. And hey, as somebody said, don’t sleep on the UAAP’s three-time defending champions. Ateneo may already be missing Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt and they may not be making noise as of late, but they are still welcoming Dave Ildefonso and Dwight Ramos with open arms. Ildefonso will only be good to go come UAAP 84, but Ramos is already being seen by head coach Tab Baldwin as a difference-maker for the Blue Eagles in Season 83. Eli, Dwight’s younger brother, is also in the mix to backstop SJ Belangel and Tyler Tio. Note also that former blue-chip recruit Inand Fornilos may very well finally get his shot while both Jolo Mendoza and Raffy Verano are also back. Ateneo’s foe in the Finals last year also reloaded quite a bit as for the third year in a row, UST will be sending the Tiger Cubs’ best player to the Srs. squad. Following in the footsteps of Cansino and Mark Nonoy, post player Bismarck Lina will be a Growling Tiger next season. Alongside him to fortify the frontcourt are Christian Manaytay, Bryan Samudio, and Bryan Santos while bolstering the backcourt are Joshua Fontanilla and Paul Manalang. Speaking of fortifying the frontcourt, Far Eastern University is the team that got the biggest boost in terms of size. With 6-foot-7 Nigerian Emman Ojoula’s residency over and done with, the go-go guards of the Tamaraws have yet another weapon to burn opponents with. CESAFI MVP Kevin Guibao and transferee Simone Sandagon are no slouches either while Cholo Anonuevo has a roster spot waiting for him if and when he decides to come home after trying his luck in the US. RJ Abarrientos no longer appears here as he was already in FEU’s list last year. These are the new faces to see for the other teams: CSB Blazers LETRAN Knights JRU Heavy Bombers MAPUA Cardinals ADAMSON Soaring Falcons UE Red Warriors --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020

Lady ballers dream turns into reality with WNBL going pro

The Women's National Basketball League has made history anew. Already the first grassroots league to feature lady ballers, the fledgling sporting organization has gotten the green light from the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) to turn professional. "Basketball is not just for males," GAB Chair Abraham Mitra said in the online press conference announcing the development on Wednesday. "Because of what happened today, I think the NBL is also advocating gender equality. Kung may panlalaki, meron ding pambabae." The WNBL, and its counterpart for men, applied for professional status months ago and had no problem whatsoever getting approved. With that, the lady ballers' grassroots league now stands as the first-ever professional sports entity for Filipinas. For their part, league officials were nothing but grateful to GAB and all the supporters of women's basketball. The PSI Lady Air Defenders were crowned champions while Janine Pontejos claimed MVP in the WNBL's inaugural season in 2019. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 26th, 2020