Philippines

Harden hits heights as Rockets soar over Timberwolves

Harden hits heights as Rockets soar over Timberwolves

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510709

LOS ANGELES: James Harden scored 36 points as the Houston Rockets moved to the brink of a Western Conference first round playoff series victory with a 119-100 rout of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday (Tuesday in Manila). Harden underscored his status as front-runner for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award after leading a stunning third quarter performance that saw the Rockets explode for an astonishing 50 points. That devastating burst of scoring — a franchise record — included 22 points from Harden as the Rockets transformed what had been a one-point contest at half-time into a comfortable victory. “We hit the switch that we’ve been trying to hit since the beginning of the playoffs, at both ends of the court,” a satisfied Harden said afterwards. “It’s pretty scary what we’re capable of when we’re locked in defensively like that and when we get rolling offensively.” James Harden No. 13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against Andrew Wiggins No. 22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter in Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. AFP PHOTO The win gave Houston a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, giving the Western Conference leaders a chance to book their place in the second round of the playoffs with a victory at home in game five on Wednesday. The smart money will be on Houston to wrap up the series quickly after Monday’s demolition job at Minnesota’s Target Center arena. “It was a great (third) quarter for us,” Harden said. “It gave us the belief. Now we go back to the crib and try to finish it off.” While Harden’s virtuoso third quarter performance ultimately decided the contest, the Rockets will also take heart from an offensive display that saw five players finish with double-digit points tallies. Point guard Chris Paul weighed in with 25 points — including 15 in the lop-sided third quarter — while Eric Gordon had 18 and Trevor Ariza 15. Center Clint Capela finished with 14 points, and also pulled down 17 rebounds during his 31 minutes on court. The Timberwolves’ scoring was led by Karl-Anthony Towns with 22 points, while Jimmy Butler (19) and Derrick Rose (17) also made significant contributions. Utah on brink Minnesota had looked capable of snaring a series-leveling victory after a close first half, in which the Rockets took a 50-49 lead at the break. But Houston’s scorching 50-point third quarter saw the Rockets head into the fourth quarter with a 100-69 lead. While Minnesota closed the gap as Houston eased up, the Rockets never looked like surrendering the initiative, keeping the Timberwolves at arm’s length as they closed out the win. In Monday’s other game, the Utah Jazz moved to within one win of clinching their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a convincing 113-96 win in Salt Lake City. Rookie star Donovan Mitchell made the decisive contribution for Utah with 33 points as Russell Westbrook and Paul George’s Thunder came unstuck. Utah now lead 3-1 heading into game five in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. All five Utah starters made double figures as the Jazz overturned a 30-24 first quarter deficit to tilt the contest in their favour in the second and third periods, outscoring the Thunder 66-43. George led the scoring for Oklahoma City with 32 points while Westbrook had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony finished with 11 points on a night when the Thunder’s offense was effectively contained. Utah’s Spanish international Ricky Rubio saluted the performance of Mitchell, who belied his age with a composed performance. “He’s playing amazing,” Rubio said. “He doesn’t seem like a rookie at all. It’s fun to see it, and it’s fun to help him get better.” The 27-year-old Rubio, who finished with 13 points, also said the collective defense had helped subdue the potent Oklahoma City line-up. “We play as a team,” Rubio said. “We did a pretty good job of containing the ball tonight; but winning is the most important thing. We’re here to win games.” AFP

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Dandan wants more from Aiken

Dandan wants more from Aiken

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510710

Columbian Dyip coach Ricky Dandan wants more from the 6’9 import CJ Aiken as they take on Meralco today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum. The Columbian Dyip, coming from a lopsided 126-98 win over Blackwater in the opener last Sunday will face the Bolts at 4:30 p.m. The Elite, on the other hand, will clash against Phoenix in the 7 p.m. second game. Aiken, a former Saint Joseph stalwart, notched a measly nine points in his PBA debut on top of 22 rebounds, six steals, four assists and two blocks. CJ Aiken No.7 CONTRIBUTED PHOTO “CJ (Aiken) is okay, but he needs to be more aggressive. He has to be more aggressive against the other big imports, especially since we have (Arinze) Onuaku on Wednesday. We’re up against a team that has been able to scout and prepare for us. We worked on counters and adjustments especially against Onuaku. We’ll see how it goes,” said Dandan. Besides Aiken, attention was also focused on former Rain or Shine reserve Jerramy King, who was acquired by Columbian via free agency market. King exploded with a career-high 30 points while Rashawn McCarthy added 22 points, six assists and three steals to lead the Columbian Dyip to win. Columbian’s 22 steals that night became the second all-time highest in PBA history. But the Dyip will be running against serious opposition in the Bolts who are determined to redeem themselves after a disastrous campaign in the Philippine Cup. Coach Norman Black of Meralco rehired former Best Import Arinze Onuaku to strengthen the Bolts’ rebounding capabilities in the frontline. Onuaku led Meralco to the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup semifinals averaging 20 points and 17.6 rebounds in the elimination round. Besides Onuaku, Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan, Chris Newsome and Baser Amer are also expected to step up for the Bolts. Blackwater and import Jarrid Famous, meanwhile, are expected to bounce back from an opening loss to Columbian as it faces the James White-reinforced Phoenix.

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Davis seeks revenge vs Warriors

Davis seeks revenge vs Warriors

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510711

Anthony Davis of New Orleans is looking forward to another shot at Golden State and exact revenge over the Warriors’ sweeping the Pelicans the last time they met in the NBA playoffs. The Pels, seeded at a lowly sixth in the Western Conference upset the no. 3 Portland, 131-123, Saturday in Game 4 of their best-of-seven series, in the process ousting the Trailblazers from the second round via a sweep. Anthony Davis No.23 of the New Orleans Pelicans AFP PHOTO Davis was a monster in that game, scoring 47 points and hauling down 11 rebounds to arrange a possible showdown with the Warriors in the second round. The Dubs led the San Antonio Spurs, 3-1, in their separate series and most likely, advance to the second round against the Pels. GWS and SAS play anew in Game 5 Tuesday. “I love it. My first time going to the playoffs, they swept us, “ Davis, one of the strongest candidate for the season MVP honors, told Larry Brown Sports in an interview after that sweeping win. “So I would love to have that matchup again, especially with the way we’re playing,” Davis said. “But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who we play; we’re worried about us and how we can play in the playoffs. We’re playing super well right now.” “I don’t care who we play against. We just have to take care of business,” he added. The Pelicans sure are on a roll. After winning Game 1 by just two points, they emerged victors in the next three games somewhat comfortably. Davis has been playing great, but the real factor could be Jrue Holiday, who shot well over 50 percent against Portland, including 41 points in Game 4. Court general Rajon Rondo, likewise, has been playing heads up at the point. The Warriors, meanwhile, welcomed Stephen Curry back to practice but didn’t see action in Game 4, which they lost against San Antonio Sunday. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Curry, who has sat out the past four weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, completed several non-contact drills Saturday without any setbacks. Doctors will re-evaluate him next weekend in hopes of a second-round return. Curry’s is one of several cases of injuries affecting the playoff performance of some teams. Cavaliers guard George Hill is questionable for experiencing back spasms Friday night, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Hill had an MRI Saturday. Also inflicted with separate injuries are Evan Turner, Brad Stevens, George Hill, Jose Calderon and Marcus Smart, among others.

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Ateneo, FEU battle for last finals slot

Ateneo, FEU battle for last finals slot

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510712

DEFENDING champion Ateneo de Manila University and Far Eastern University (FEU) dispute the remaining finals berth today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 80 men’s volleyball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City. Game time is at 2 p.m. Four-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo’s record-setting performance allowed the Blue Eagles to get a lifeline following an 18-25, 25-13, 24-16, 25-23, 15-9 win over the Tamaraws last Saturday. Espejo’s 55-point effort will go for naught if Ateneo won’t make it to the last dance. “I want my last playing year to be memorable,” said Espejo. As Espejo is expected to be the marked guy, veteran setter Ish Polvorosa should find ways to get his other hitters involved and somehow lessen the offensive burden of the Marikina native. The Tamaraws, who hold the twice-to-beat advantage for finishing No. 2 in the eliminations, lost against the Eagles for the first time in three meetings this season. “We have to triple our effort [to level our head-to-head match up this season,” said Ateneo mentor Oliver Almadro. “We believe in destiny. We need to work as a team.” The last time the Eagles missed the finals was in the 2012-13 season. The survivor of the FEU-Ateneo clash will play National University in the best-of-three championship starting on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum. The Tamaraws are 0-2 against the Bulldogs in the eliminations, while the Eagles have split their head-to-head with the Bustillos-based spikers this season. Jude Garcia, JP Bugaoan and RJ Paler will be the vital cogs for FEU, which squandered a 2-1 set lead as it crumbled to Espejo’s onslaught.

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Revellers smother Jawbreakers in Game 1

Revellers smother Jawbreakers in Game 1

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510713

Samboy De Leon and Michael Calisaan joined forces as Che’Lu Bar & Grill-San Sebastian College pulled off a 107-103 victory over Zark’s Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University in Game One of the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 on Tuesday at the Pasig City Sports Center. De Leon and Calisaan hit crucial baskets, pulling the Revellers to a win away from the season-opening conference title. “Both teams deserved to win but we had a good defense in the endgame. Good comeback for our team,” said Che’Lu-San Sebastian head coach Stevenson Tiu. Former PBA player De Leon fired a team-high 18 points highlighted by four triples while Calisaan pumped in a double-double of 15 markers and 12 rebounds. Alfred Batino also posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 boards even as Ryan Costelo and Jayson David chipped in 13 markers each. Tiu lauded his guards for stepping up in the absence of hotshot Jeff Viernes, who was signed by GlobalPort to play in the PBA. “We talked about it (Viernes’ move to the PBA) in our last two practices. I challenged them especially the guards that even without Jeff Viernes, we can still win. They proved it,” he said. Che’Lu waxed hot as it took a 38-28 lead midway the second quarter but Jaycee Marcelino heated up to give Zark’s-Lyceum a narrow 57-55 spread at the half. It was a nip-and-tuck affair until the dying moments of the ball game. After trailing 81-90 early in the payoff period, De Leon knocked down back-to-back triples and Costelo added another trey to snatch a 98-95 advantage at the 3:30 mark. CJ Perez scored on a breakaway layup to reclaim a 101-100 upper hand for Zark’s before Batino converted a free throw and De Leon sank a three-pointer for a 104-101 lead with 1:19 left. Perez made two foul shots to push the Jawbreakers to within 103-104. Calisaan then went for an explosive drive to the basket off a backdoor play with Allyn Bulanadi for a 106-103 buffer with 29 ticks remaining. Jesper Ayaay missed a corner triple before Bulanadi pegged the final count from the charity stripe. Jaycee Marcelino came through with a game-best 23 points on top of eight rebounds and three assists while Cameroonian center Mike Nzeusseu had 19 points and 11 boards for the Jawbreakers. The scores: CHE’LU BAR AND GRILL-SAN SEBASTIAN (107)— De Leon 18, Batino 17, Calisaan 15, Bulanadi 13, Costelo 13, Ilagan 9, Siruma 7, Collado 6, David 3, Ablaza 2, Faundo 2, Taganas 2, Capobres 0. ZARK’S BURGER-LYCEUM (103)—Marcelino 23, Nzeusseu 19, Ayaay 13, JV Marcelino 10, Baltazar 9, Pretta 9, Perez 8, Serrano 5, Tansingco 3, Caduyac 2, Yong 2, Ibañez 0. Quarterscores: 34-26; 55-57; 76-76; 107-103

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Chef dies after collapsing at London Marathon

Chef dies after collapsing at London Marathon

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510714

LONDON: A 29-year-old chef has died after collapsing in the hottest London Marathon on record, organizers said on Tuesday. Matt Campbell, who featured in the BBC television show “Masterchef: The Professionals” last year, collapsed Sunday at the 22.5-mile mark. “Although he received immediate medical treatment on the scene from race doctors, he died later in hospital,” the statement said. Campbell, from the Lake District in northwest England, was raising money for a youth charity and told his Instagram followers on the morning of the race he was running in honour of his late father. The chef had already run in the Manchester Marathon on April 8. Sunday’s 38th London Marathon was the hottest ever recorded at 24.1 degrees Celsius (75.3 degrees Fahrenheit). AFP

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Petron crushes Cocolife in Game 1

Petron crushes Cocolife in Game 1

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510715

Katherine Bell made a strong first impression in powering Petron to a 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory over Cocolife in Game 1 of their Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix best-of-three semifinals series on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre. Coming in as a late replacement to Hillary Hurley, Bell was simply impressive as she shone brightest at the attack zone to give Petron an early lead in this blockbuster showdown bankrolled by UCPB Gen and Isuzu with ESPN5 as official broadcast partner. Should Petron win Game 2 on Thursday, it will clash with the victor of the other semifinal pairing between reigning champion F2 Logistics and Foton, who are still clashing at press time. Marta Drpa of Cocolife vs Mika Reyes and Lindsay Stalzer of Petron CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Bell, a versatile 25-year old spiker who led University of Texas to four Final Four appearances including a title in the NCAA in 2012, came through with 27 attacks to finish with 29 points for the Blaze Spikers, who are looking to redeem themselves after falling short in the finals last year. Former Most Valuable Player awardee Lindsay Stalzer was also stunning as she chipped in 19 kills, two aces and two blocks for 23 hits while Mika Reyes and Frances Molina tallied nine and eight markers, respectively. “What happened to us in the finals (last year) was a lesson learned,” said Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos, who is looking to bring his team back to the finals of this tourney that also has Mikasa, Senoh, Asics, LGR and Grand Sport as technical sponsors for fifth consecutive year. “We don’t want it to happen. Despite this win, we will still work hard and polish our lapses in our game.” Delos Santos added that the gamble they made in bringing in a new import in Bell appears to be paying off. “She just arrived last week and has been with us for only nine days. We’re so lucky that the schedule was adjusted so we had time to adjust. Anyway, it wasn’t a major adjustment. She’s very jolly and easy to get along.” After cruising to a first set win, the Blaze Spikers found themselves in trouble as Serbians Sara Klisura and Marta Drpa rallied the Asset Managers to a 21-17 lead in the second set. Petron managed to tie it at 21 before Klisura connected on a booming kill followed by an ace from Jane Gonzales to give Cocolife on the verge of knotting the match at 1-1. “We were relaxed in the second set,” Delos Santos said. “Good thing we managed to recover in the third set. We will study all our lapses in the second set and improve it next game, especially our passing and reception.” Drpa tallied 26 points while Klisura chipped in 18 markers for Cocolife, which is looking to make it to the finals for the first time since joining the league last year. Games Tomorrow: (Filoil Flying V Centre) 4:15 pm – F2 Logistics vs Foton 7:00 pm – Petron vs Cocolife

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No boycott fear of ‘Giro’ in Israel

No boycott fear of ‘Giro’ in Israel

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510716

TEL AVIV: Organizers of an initial Israeli phase of the next Giro d’Italia cycling contest said on Sunday that they do not fear the event will be boycotted. “We are happy to say that, for the moment, there is full participation by all the teams, and we anticipate no problems,” Daniel Benaim, a Giro official, told a news conference in Tel Aviv. The first three stages of this year’s competition will take place in Israel next month, marking the first time the event has started outside Europe. “Thousands of the world’s cyclists” were gathering for what is the “second most important” competition after the Tour de France, said Sylvan Adams, one of the event’s organisers in Israel. A total of 120 million shekels (34 million dollars, 27 million euros) has been invested in the Israeli stages of the race, the organisers say. But a lobby group called “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) is leading a global campaign against Israel, targeting the country’s economy, art scene and sports. It aims to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, a status quo deemed illegal by the international community. Israel fiercely contests the boycott initiative, denouncing it as a strategic threat and a challenge to the very legitimacy the country. A total of 22 teams are set to compete in the 101st Giro d’Italia, which will take place between May 4 and May 27. The race begins with an individual time trial in Jerusalem, before two further stages in Israel. In a bid to avoid political tensions, the routes carefully avoid the Palestinian territories, namely east Jerusalem and the West Bank. But the event has already courted controversy. Late last year, organisers used the words “West Jerusalem” during a presentation in Milan, when referring to the location of the first stage. Under pressure from Israel, this designation was dropped, only to ignite protest by Palestinians. The term “West Jerusalem” offended Israel because it implies the city is split between “West” and “East,” in a context where Israeli authorities view it as being legitimately reunified by their annexing east Jerusalem in 1967. This annexation has never been recognised by the international community. Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their own aspiring state. Beyond the stage in Jerusalem, a second is set to take place between Haifa and Tel Aviv, before a third between Be’er Sheva and Eilat. AFP

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Tokyo 2020 warned by Olympic bosses

Tokyo 2020 warned by Olympic bosses

25/04/2018, Philippines, Multi Sports, The Manila Times, Article # 26510717

TOKYO: Tokyo Olympic organizers were given a sharp reminder Tuesday to raise their game after complaints from several international sports federations about preparations for the 2020 Summer Games. IOC coordination commission chief John Coates warned that as the spotlight falls on Tokyo after a successful Winter Games in Pyeongchang earlier this year, Olympic stakeholders would become increasingly impatient for answers. “You are the next host city so the urgency is quite clear to us,” Coates told a news conference in Tokyo. “It is very important that when you do presentations, you just have to answer the questions and be forthright in doing so,” he added. “It might not always be in your nature, but the questions are going to come.” More than 200 national Olympic committees will visit Tokyo in November but a handful of sports federations have already expressed concerns over Tokyo’s preparations, most recently at a SportAccord meeting in Bangkok earlier this month. Coates played down the extent of those fears, claiming they were limited to judo, sailing and triathlon. Triathlon officials remain worried about high levels of bacteria detected last year at the 2020 Olympic venue, he confirmed. “Triathlon was still concerned about water quality,” said Coates. “We received a presentation about experiments that will take place for better screening of the water. “There were concerns expressed by judo as to why their 2019 world championships would not be used as a test event. I think they are going to be used, so perhaps there hasn’t been close enough liaison.” Gone fishing Coates insisted questions raised by sailing officials boiled down to a potential clash with local fisherman. “I think it was to do with the fishermen there and how the fishing would impact on the boats as they were training in that area,” he said. “I’m assured that those matters are under control, or being got under control or certainly receiving attention.” Tokyo’s Olympic organisers have faced criticism over a series of embarrassing public relations blunders since beating Madrid and Istanbul for the right to host the 2020 Games. Most notable was the bungled rollout of the Olympic stadium in 2015 when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ripped up plans for the venue because of public fury over its $2 billion price tag. After being subsequently ordered to slash costs, Tokyo organisers announced a cut of $1.4 billion in the budget last December, bringing the overall bill to 1.35 trillion yen ($12.5 billion). Pointing to the success of Pyeongchang Olympics, where North and South marched together at the opening ceremony, Coates refused to politicise North Korea’s possible participation at Tokyo 2020. But he said he was aware of the emotive issue of Japanese abducted by the North. “I understand the terrible pain that those who were taken away and those that were left behind have experienced,” he said. “But there’s an obligation on a host government to allow free access to all delegations, athletes and their officials who are accredited for the Games.” AFP

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