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WASHINGTON: The Boston Celtics, reinvigorated by a return home, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) to move within one win of reaching the NBA Finals.
Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points to lead five Boston players in double figures as the Celtics took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James led Cleveland with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
But James looked at times as if he were feeling the effects of the heavy load he has carried for the Cavs in these playoffs, coughing up six of Cleveland’s 15 turnovers, including four in the second half.
“I think everybody at this point is tired or worn down or whatever the case may be,” James said. “I’m fine.”
Kevin Love, with 14 points, was the only other player to score in double figures for the Cavs, who host game six on Friday trying to stay on track for a fourth straight trip to the Finals.
Game seven, if needed, will be back in Boston on Sunday.
James himself is seeking an eighth straight trip to the title series, although he said that streak wouldn’t be on his mind come Friday.
“Not at all,” he said. “It’s just all about just win every game and it should put us in position to play for a championship.
“We look forward to having an opportunity to force a game seven. It’s up to us to see if we can come back here (to Boston) for one more.”
The winner of the series will play either the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets for the NBA crown. The Western Conference rivals are locked at 2-2 in their series.
With James on the bench to open the fourth quarter, the Celtics pushed a 16-point lead to 21.
A 9-0 Cavs run reduced the deficit to 12 points, but Cleveland came up empty on their next four attempts.
“Defensively we gave ourselves a chance,” said James noting the Cavs held the Celtics to 36.5 percent shooting.
“At one point we had two opportunities to cut it to single digits and missed some really good looks, two three-pointers. We couldn’t make. And if you don’t make, it’s going to come back to bite you.”
The Celtics improved to 10-0 at home this post-season, and Tatum said there’s no reason they can’t wrap up the series on Friday, even though so far the home team has won every game in the series.
“We’ve got to be focused, composed and play with a lot of poise and we’ll be fine,” he said, clearly up for the challenge.
“It’s my first year. We’re one win away from going to the Finals. It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.
The Cavs got off to a rocky start, with five first-quarter turnovers nearly matching their seven field goals.
With 10:47 left in the second quarter and the Celtics up 17 points, Boston forward Marcus Morris and Cleveland’s Larry Nance tangled, with Nance sent sprawling to the floor.
Morris appeared to say something to Nance before turning away, and Nance rose from the floor and shoved him from behind.
As officials and other players intervened Celtics guard Terry Rozier raced into the fray and pushed Nance.
It all ended with Morris, Nance and Rozier receiving technical fouls.
An energized Cleveland team then twice whittled the deficit to eight points before the Celtics reasserted themselves to lead 53-42 at half-time.
“I didn’t think we played well tonight at all,” said Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue. “So now we’ve got to go home, win game six and come back here for game seven.”
The post Celtics push James, Cavs to brink with game 5 NBA win appeared first on The Manila Times Online.
Coach Yeng Guiao of Northern Luzon Expressway will coach Gilas Pilipinas in its battle against Luzon All-Star under coach Leo Austria of San Miguel Beer today in the second leg of the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association All-Star Game at the Batangas City Coliseum.
The game between Luzon’s finest players and Gilas Pilipinas unfolds at 7 p.m.
Various side events, among them the Obstacle Challenge, the Three-point Shootout and the Slam-dunk competition will start at 4 p.m.
Guiao, who coached the Philippine team in 2008, will be the strategist for June Mar Fajardo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Troy Rosario, Mac Belo, Allein Maliksi, Terrence Romeo, Gabe Norwood, Jio Jalalon and Kiefer Ravena.
“It’s been a while since I last coached an all-star team so I can’t even recall the exact year. I’m happy that they made this kind of format. It is also an experience to handle these players,” said Guiao.
“So far, Kiefer is the only player that I know and the rest of Gilas players are going to be unique because this will be my first time to coach most of them.”
Gilas Pilipinas is determined to bounce back from a 130-144 loss to Mindanao on Wednesday in Digos, Davao Del Sur. Baser Amer of the Mindanao team emerged as the Most Valuable Player of the Mindanao leg of the tilt.
Norman Black coached Gilas during the Mindanao leg while Nash Racela will take over as mentor of the national team when the All-Star games travel to Iloilo City on Sunday.
“In terms of employing your system or your style and your culture, it is not going to happen because Gilas has its own system and identity. Coaching the team for one day will not change anything. There’s no major surprises in terms of tactics or strategies,” said Guiao.
“All I have to do is field in these people, or the shuffling of these people for the sake of enjoying the company or enjoying the atmosphere and the crowd.”
Comprising the Luzon team are Austria of Sariaya, Quezon, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, LA Tenorio, Raymond Almazan, Stanley Pringle, Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Matthew Wright.
Prior to the game, Paul Asi Taulava, Sonny Thoss, Raymond Aguilar, JP Erram, Kelly Nabong, Russel Escoto, Ken Bono, Justin Chua, Aldrech Ramos, Beau Belga, Gabby Espinas and Yousef Taha will compete in the Obstacle Challenge.
Meanwhile, Blackwater’s Allein Maliksi will defend his three-point shootout title against James Yap, Terrence Romeo, Jayvee Casio, Matthew Wright, Marcio Lassiter, Paul Lee, Larry Fonacier, LA Tenorio, Ronald Tubid and KG Canaleta.
Seeing action in the slam-dunk competition are defending champion Chris Newsome of Meralco, Matt Rosser-Ganuelas, Renz Palma, Marion Magat, Lervin Flores and former champion Rey Guevarra.
Manny Pacquiao looks to be torn between his two loves – that of being a lawmaker and a fighter.
On Wednesday, the multi-titled ring hero turned himself to the Elorde Gym in Pasay City after attending senate session for his routine training schedule consisting of working with the mitts, heavy bag, the double end ball, speed ball, etc.
After an hour or so inside the dressing room, the eight-division champion emerged still in Barong Tagalog to ask members of the coaching staff, headed by Buboy Fernandez and Justin Fortune, if they can forego the day’s schedule.
Speculations immediately went wild, to the effect that, Pacquiao could already be spent and could no longer stand the rigor of training having started his preparation for his coming July 15 encounter with World Boxing Association welterweight crown-holder Lucas Matthysse three weeks earlier than usual.
Which Buboy readily denied.
No, not really,” Buboy told this writer in a telephone call from Santos City Thursday morning. “Manny told me and coach Justin that in as much as we’re scheduled to leave for GenSan ngayon ngang araw why can’t we cancel the day’s schedule so everybody can rest.”
“Pagdating kasi namin sa GenSan medyo pabigat na nang pabigat ang volume ng training regimen na inihanda namin,” Buboy revealed. “We also thought it’s better that we cancel that day’s schedule para fresh kaming lahat for the much tougher stage of the preparedness scheme.”
“Mabuti na rin ‘yun, para mabigyan si Manny ng oras tapusin ang gawain nya sa senado. Pagdating namin sa GenSan, we won’t be coming back sa Manila. Tuloy-tuloy na kami sa Malaysia for the fight,” he disclosed.
“Kaya ‘yung mga tsismis gaya ng si Manny ay laos na a di na kayang tuparin ang tungkulin sa senado at mag-ensayo pa, hindi tutoo ‘yan. At hindi mangyayari ‘yan,” Buboy asserted.
“Ang masasabi ko lang sa mga kababayan nating naaapektuban ng ganitong mga fake news, at maging sa ibang boxing fans sa buong mundo, Manny’s well, he is handling himself well and we in the training staff are training him well,” he assured.
“We know— coach Justin, Noy (Nonoy Neri), Haplas (Roger Fernandez), Dodong (Donaire) Ting (Ariosa), Jonathan (Peñalosa), everybody — that the eyes of the entire boxing world are on us,” he said.
“What we can only promise them is, we know what we’re doing, we know the best way to prepare him for this fight and his to him win. Hindi namin maaring pabayaan si Manny. Lalo na ako na kasama-sama nya mula pa pagkabata,” Buboy said.
De La Salle University eyes the solo lead in Group A when it battles University of the East (UE) while Far Eastern University (FEU) guns for a winning streak anew against University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in the 12th FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup today at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
The Green Archers want to bag their fifth straight win in as many games as they take on the Red Warriors at 4:30 p.m. while the Tamaraws go for a second consecutive victory versus the Growling Tigers at 6:30 p.m.
La Salle shares the Group A lead with rival Ateneo De Manila University and Mapua University. The three have identical 4-0 win-loss records and a win by La Salle over UE will propel them to the top of the ten-team group.
But the Taft-based squad has to shrug off rust as its 83-51 demolition of Emilio Aguinaldo College happened 14 days ago.
UE is also eager to avoid a skid after its narrow 60-63 loss to Gilas Pilipinas Cadets last Tuesday.
The No. 7 Red Warriors held an 11-point lead against the Cadets early in the fourth quarter only to collapse in the endgame en route to a 1-2 slate.
Meanwhile, FEU seeks to post back-to-back wins following its 75-64 beating of Adamson University.
UST, on the other hand, looks to halt a two-game slide after losing to Group B leader College of St. Benilde and Adamson.
The Tamaraws stand at No. 2 with a 4-1 card while the Tigers sit at No. 7 with a 1-4 sheet.
In other Group B games, Colegio de San Juan de Letran (2-2) collides with the listless Jose Rizal University (0-5) even as Adamson (2-1) and Arellano University (2-2) are both eyeing a bounce-back win at 2:15 p.m.
NEW YORK: Frenchman Rudy Gobert, who helped power the Utah Jazz into the NBA playoffs, was the top vote-getter on the NBA All-Defensive First Team announced by the league Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
The 7-foot-1 (2.16m) center received 94 first-team votes and 192 points from a global media panel to edge New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis of the United States for the most support on the five-man honor squad. Davis had 73 first-place votes and 163 total points.
Gobert and Davis, both 25, are finalists for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Joining them on the top defensive squad were Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington.
The only prior first-team defensive selection was Gobert, who made his debut last year when he led the NBA with 2.6 blocked shots a game. Davis led the NBA this season with 2.6 blocks a game.
Gobert averaged 13.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists a game this season for the Jazz, who ousted Oklahoma City in the first round of the playoffs before being eliminated by Houston.
Jazz opponents shot 10 percent worse near the basket when Gobert was on the court. Utah had the second-rated defensive unit in the NBA, allowing 101.6 points per 100 opponent possessions and only 97.7 points when Gobert was on the court.
The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of 76ers center Joel Embiid, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Boston Celtics center Al Horford, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and Minnesota Timberwolves swingman Jimmy Butler.
Cameroon center Embiid is also a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award, which will be announced next month at the NBA Awards show.
The post France’s Gobert leads picks for NBA All-Defensive Team appeared first on The Manila Times Online.
American Arielle Love and Jeanette Panaga took charge at the net as Pocari Sweat-Air Force bounced back from a previous setback with a 25-8, 23-25, 25-18, 25-16 over Iriga-Navy in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan late Wednesday.
Love and Panaga combined for seven of the Lady Warriors’ 11 blocks as the Lady Warriors banked on their solid play at the net to shake off a 15-25, 25-27, 25-17, 19-25 defeat to the Creamline Cool Smashers in Batangas last weekend.
The Lady Warriors improved to 2-2 for joint fourth with Tacloban.
Creamline, PayMaya and BaliPure-NU share the early lead in the season-opening conference organized by Sports Vision with 3-1 slates.
But the High Flyers look the wrest solo control as they take onBanKo-Perlas Spikers at 4 p.m. in tomorrow’s resumption of the tournament backed by Mikasa and Asics.
PayMaya has recovered from its shutout loss to Creamline with a 3-1 victory over Iriga last weekend and is tipped to pounce on the slumping BanKo-Perlas, which has dropped its last four games after stunning Creamline in five.
The other match will pit PetroGazz versus Iriga-Navy in a duel of struggling teams at 2 p.m. while Army and PLDT tangle in the lone men’s match at 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, Love complemented her superb defensive game with 18 hits while Myla Pablo hammered in 15 kills as Pocari Sweat-Air Force overwhelmed Iriga-Navy from the attack line, 51-35.
Love finished with 25 points while Pablo backed her up with 16 markers.
Panaga as well as American Madeline Palmer also delivered from the service line as they combined for six of the Lady Warriors’ nine aces against the Lady Oragons’ four.
“In the second set, my team did not become overconfident. Our opponent also stepped up. But my team held on in the third and fourth,” said Pocari Sweat-Air Force coach Jasper Jimenez.
American duo Macy Ubben and Lauren Whyte logged 15 points apiece but barely got offensive help from the locals as Iriga-Navy dropped its second straight loss for a 1-2 mark at sixth.
After opening its campaign on a sour note, Foton finally got its groove by posting a 21-10, 21-17 victory over Smart on Thursday in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup at the Sands By the Bay in Mall of Asia.
Nieza and Jeziela Viray banked on their solid attacks and airtight defense to hammer their second win in two matches and punch a ticket into the quarterfinals of this prestigious summer spectacle bankrolled by PLDT, Sunsilk, Isuzu, Senoh, Mikasa, Maynilad, Petron, SM Malls, Generika Drugstore and UCPB Gen.
Also barging into the win column in the second day of this battle that also has ESPN5 and Aksyon TV as official broadcaster is the F2 Logistics pair of Michelle Morente and Fritz Gallenero, who outmuscled Cocolife B of Marge Tejada and Alex Tan, 21-16, 21-11, in the second match of women’s division.
In the men’s side, Sands By the Bay and Cignal swept their respective pool plays to march into the semifinals.
Bryan Bagunas and James Natividad of Sands By the Bay overcame Joshua Ylaya and JP Pareja, 21-10, 21-13, to top Pool A, while Mike Abria and Jessie Lopez of Cignal blasted Philip Bagalay and Gregory Utopia of Smart, 21-14, 21-16, following their 21-17, 21-18 thrashing of Alsali Pajiji and Relan Taneo of Navy.
But the day belonged to the Viray twins – the reigning beach volleyball queens of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Competing in the PSL for the first time, the twins displayed tremendous composure early to dictate the tempo and throw Ma. Cecilia Bangad and Caitlyn Viray out of their comfort zones.
Jeziela said they struggled in their first match against Cignal B in the opener, prompting them to make some key adjustments that keyed their victory.
“At first, we were struggling. We had trouble jumping and playing on the sands,” said Jeziela following the easy win that booked them a quarterfinal duel against the victor between Generika-Ayala A and Cocolife A.
“But after we made some adjustments, things became a little bit easy.”
She added that the quarterfinals would not be a walk in the park, especially since they are ranged against seasoned competitors like Patty Orendain and Fiola Ceballos of Generika-Ayala A and Danika Gendrauli and Nene Bautista of Cocolife A.
“We will do our best,” she said. “We will play hard and enjoy the match like what we did against Smart.”
LOS ANGELES: Feng Shanshan defends her title at the LPGA Volvik Championship hoping she can again kickstart her season at Travis Pointe in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Feng’s victory last year marked the earliest in a season that the Chinese star had ever posted an LPGA victory, and she’s come to see the benefit of getting the ball rolling earlier in the year.
“I think last year before I played the Volvik Championship, I wasn’t doing very well and I think that was like a breaking point for me last year,” she said.
“And because I won here, I finally started to feel more confidence and comfortable, and then that actually gave me extra confidence because before that I just won two times in the US.
“So all of my nine wins on the LPGA, I win most of them in Asia, so I really want to prove that I can win in the US, too. So last year the victory here was very important to me.”
Last year Feng fired four straight rounds in the 60s, including a third-round 66, to win her seventh LPGA title at Travis Pointe.
She added victories in the Japan Classic and the Blue Bay LPGA on the Chinese island of Hainan in November to become the first Chinese golfer, male or female, to reach number one in the world.
But Feng hasn’t won since then.
She boasts four top-10 finishes in 2018, but in April slipped to second in the world behind South Korean Park In-bee.
She admitted that she felt the stress of the number one ranking.
“I did feel a little pressure when I was number one because every week people remind you, like, ‘Oh, you’re number one. What’s your goal this week? Are you going to win this week? What are you going to do?’” Feng said.
It wasn’t a kind of pressure the normally laid-back Feng was used to.
“I think because of that, I think maybe sometimes I started to feel like having more pressure on the course and then started to actually feel a little bit nervous when I have chances to win.
“So, I’m actually pretty happy that now I’m not No. 1. I’m No. 2 — I’m the one that is chasing the others again.
“So now I’m feeling more confident and more comfortable, and I think I can bring out the real Shanshan now.”
WASHINGTON: Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth seeks his first victory since last year’s British Open at this week’s PGA Fort Worth Invitational, where he produced top-two finishes the past three years.
Spieth arrives at Colonial Country Club, just down the road from his hometown of Dallas, after placing 21st at the Byron Nelson and 41st at the Players following his third-place Masters showing.
The 7,209-yard, par-70 Colonial layout has been a tonic for Spieth the past few years. He was runner-up in 2015, one stroke behind compatriot Chris Kirk, and the winner in 2016 by three strokes before losing again by a shot last year to American Kevin Kisner.
“I don’t struggle reading the greens at Colonial,” Spieth said.
And Spieth, with 11 PGA wins at age 24, looks forward to even the most tedious work in improving his game with the US Open looming in June and his defense of the Claret Jug in July at Carnoustie.
“I’m waking up excited about anything that’s off in my game. I’m enjoying working at it,” Spieth said.
“I’m trying to find new and better ways to be a better player and if the results come right away great and if it takes a little while I’m OK with that at this point. I’m taking a more patient approach to peaks and valleys throughout my career.”
The field also includes American Webb Simpson, in his first event since winning the Players Championship, and Spain’s Jon Rahm, who shared second at Colonial last year and vows to grind his way against all rivals this week.
“I fight every single shot,” Rahm said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the last shot on 18 on Sunday or the first shot on the first hole on Thursday. I’m going to grind just as hard on each one of them.”
England’s Justin Rose makes his first Colonial start since 2010 while Rickie Fowler makes his first appearance at the course since 2014. Major winners Jimmy Walker and Adam Scott are also in the lineup on a layout that has hosted a PGA event since legend Ben Hogan won the inaugural title in 1946.
Hogan remains the only player to win at Colonial in back-to-back years.
Two-time Colonial winner Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters and 2015 British Open winner, likes the Texas layout. Only Hogan with five wins has won more often at the famed layout.
“It’s almost like a quasi home for me on the PGA Tour,” Johnson said. “It requires patience more than anything. It is one where the fairways are a premium. The rough can be difficult, especially from a control standpoint. And then when the greens get firm, this place can be pretty trying.”
The post Hometown hero Spieth seeks more PGA Colonial success appeared first on The Manila Times Online.
Joenard Rates and Jobim Carlos matched birdie-birdie finishes on opposite nines for 71s as they kept their spots on top, one stroke ahead of erstwhile co-leader Jerson Balasabas halfway through P3 million ICTSI Villamor Philippine Masters at the Villamor Golf Club yesterday.
The diminutive Rates turned from erratic to splendid, rebounding from a three-over card after seven holes with four birdies in the next six, including three straight from No. 11. He then recovered from a double-bogey mishap on No. 16 with closing birdies to save a 38-33 card on a tight layout that puts premium on driving.
In a separate flight at the back, Carlos also struggled with three bogeys against two birdies but the recent winner of the National Pro-am with DJ Padilla gunned down a second straight birdie on No. 4 and holed out with back-to-back birdies to negate a bogey on the par-3 seventh for a 34-37.
With 138 aggregates, the duo stayed on top for the second straight day but braced for a spirited charge from the rest of their pursuers in the last two rounds of the 72-hole championship sponsored by ICTSI, including Balasabas, who struggled off the mound and missed keeping his spot at the top with a last-hole mishap on No. 9 for a 72 and a 139.
“I have to find a way to be consistent off the tee. Made bad drives, especially at the back and the wind later affected my game in the last nine,” said Carlos, who with the rest of the surviving 44-player field headed straight to the range to tinker with their driving.
“I missed a lot of my tee shots but my putting worked so I’m still at it,” said Balasabas, who vowed to strike back in today’s third round, particularly on the par-5 holes.
Rene Menor, a former PGT Asia leg winner, and Gerald Rosales, a former champion of an all-local Philippine Open, assembled identical 141s after a 70 and 71, respectively, for joint fourth while veteran and multi-titled Jay Bayron bogeyed two of the last three holes at the front for a 73 and dropped to a share of sixth with Jhonnel Ababa (70) and Albin Engino (74) at 142.
Orlan Sumcad, the other player in the four-man lead pack after 18 holes of the fabled event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc., failed to recover from a bogey-double bogey-bogey misfortune from No. 12 and hobbled with a 76, tumbling to joint ninth with Anthony Fernando and Dutch Guido Van der Valk, who both fired 71s, at 143, now five strokes behind the joint leaders.
The other pre-tournament favorites also stood too far behind with mediocre rounds despite calm condition in the afternoon as the tight, hazard laden military layout held its ground and yielded just 13 under-par scores for the second straight day.
Rates, who tied for 10th in last year’s revival of what used to be one of local version’s four majors won by Clyde Mondilla, looked headed for a flop after bogeying Nos. 1, 3 and 7 on a three-putt and missed greens. But he birdied the par-5 eighth then strung up three straight from No. 11 to wheel back into contention.
He reeled back again after dropping two strokes on the tough par-4 16th but birdied the last two to put himself back in the hunt for the top P550,000 purse in the event backed by BDO, KZG, Custom Clubmakers, Meralco, Sharp, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and PLDT.
Forty-four players moved into the final 36 holes with Jun Bernis (78), Raymung Gonzales (75), Edward Reyes (77), Dino Villanueva (74) and Macedonian Peter Stojanovski (72) all surviving the cut at 151.
Among the notables who failed to make the grade in the event were Ira Alido (74-152), Erwin Arcillas (75-152), Rufino Bayron (79-153), Canadian Lindsay Renolds (79-153), Ferdie Aunzo (80-155) and Zanieboy Gialon (78-160).