If there were a classification just for sheer attention alone then Peter Sagan would already be streaks ahead of any rider at this year's Santos Tour Down Under.
Such is the clamour for the three-time world champion that race organiser Mike Turtur – who has always looked to attract high-profile names in order to draw the Adelaide crowds – began waxing lyrical over Sagan's participation in the race almost without prompting during the pre-race press conference on Saturday.
In fact, Sagan had to say very little of note in order for the local media to be drawn in, but come Sunday, at the People's Choice Classic, it will be his legs that finally do the talking.
The Bora-Hansgrohe team head into the criterium and the Tour Down Under proper with arguably the best line-up they've had in Australia. Jay McCarthy is a genuine contender for the GC, while Daniel Oss and Peter Kennaugh bolster what was already an impressive squad.
The form of sprinter Sam Bennett is somewhat of an unknown given a recent head cold but the consensus seems to be that Sagan could run riot in terms of GC and stages at this race if only his motivation matched his undoubted talent. Stage 4, with its lumpy parcours and downhill dash to the line, has Sagan's name written all over it, for example.
At the press conference in downtown Adelaide, however, Sagan quickly dispelled any pressure on his own shoulders, pointing to Bora's collective search for results, rather than his own ambitions.
"That's a pleasure to hear that I'm the best lead-out man by Jay but for sure we're here for Jay and for Sam Bennett. We'll see what we can do in the race but for sure we're a stronger team than in previous years," Sagan said.
"Why am I here? Well, I hope that it's good preparation. I can get in some good kilometres and it's good weather here so I can train well over the last ten days. The season is starting."
Part of the Tour Down Under’s love affair with Sagan, as Turtur was keen to play up, is the fact that the rider made his WorldTour debut here in 2010. He made it into a break that contained established stars at the time and although he later crashed in the race Turtur was impressed by his character and desire to put on a show.
"It was my first WorldTour race and I met some famous riders here," Sagan said without naming the likes of Lance Armstrong and Cadel Evans.
"That was a nice experience. I also crashed but I survived. It was [a] good time. But it's a nice calm race. We're in the same race hotel, it's nice weather and there's no stress."
On the podium from left to right: Ronald Oranza, Jan Paul Morales and Marcelo Felipe. June Navarro/INQUIRER
There’s no hint that Jan Paul Morales of Standard Insurance would slow down anytime soon.
After capturing his second consecutive Ronda Pilipinas individual plum plus a couple of competitive local races last year, Morales ruled the men’s elite road race of the PRU Ride Philippine National Cycling Championships over the weekend in Subic and Bataan.
Morales beat fellow Standard Insurance rider Ronald Oranza at the line in three hours, 42 minutes and 55 seconds after the punishing uphill route covering 137 kilometers.
Marcelo Felipe of 7Eleven Cliqq Road Bike Philippines placed third in the race where the winner earned an all-expenses paid trip in the PRU Ride in London in July plus P50,000 in cash prize.
Aside from Morales, businessman-sportsman and Standard Insurance chairman Ernesto “Judes” Echauz has also produced a pair of local champions in top-caliber runner Joey delos Reyes in duathlon and long-distance triathlon champion Monica Torres last year.
It was also dominating performance last year for the 31-year-old Morales, who ruled the Ontario California Criterium Race in the United States, while emerging champion in the elite division of the 3rd Road Bike Philippines Sual Cycling Challenge in Pangasinan in May.
“I can never accomplish these victories without the full support of our sponsor and my teammates,” said Morales, who is aiming for a third straight Ronda Pilipinas title this March.
With Morales, Oranza and Rudy Roque at the helm, the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance cycling team had won the Ronda Pilipinas overall individual and team championships four years in a row.
On the other hand, Torres, a perennial top local finisher in the Ironman 70.3 Philippines, is a long-time triathlete and duathlon star in the Standard Insurance stable, according to Echauz.
“Because of her winnings both locally and internationally in the long distance events that she joins, she has also been regularly recognized by sports media organizations,” said Echauz.
Torres topped the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships—Malaysia 2017, last March.
Emmanuel Commendador and Torres, both from the Philippines, dominated the top podium spots for the male and female elite category with a time of 02:48:36 and 03:04:11, respectively.
She also won the Tri-Sports 51.5 held in Ilocos Norte, also last March and grabbed the podium in the inaugural MusaMan Trt-DavNor 2017, a standard distance triathlon hosted by the provincial government of Davao de Norte, last June.
BIG GAME. MVP candidate Rhayyan Amsali (21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) had a big game to lift NU over FEU. File photo from Amsali's Facebook
MANILA, Philippines - The second round of the UAAP Season 80 Juniors basketball tournament kicked off on Saturday, January 13 with last season’s runner-up National University (NU) Bullpups once again defeating the defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) Baby Tamaraws in an 86-81 finals rematch thriller.
NU had previously beaten the champs 80-68 in the first round.
The game remained relatively close until the closing moments of the first half, when RJ Abarrientos pulled up for 3 with less than 10 seconds on the game clock to put the champs up 47-40. The now 7-1 Bullpups got it together when it mattered most, scoring 29 points in the final frame compared to FEU’s 16. Thanks to the late heroics of Most Valuable Player candidate Rhayyan Amsali (21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Terrence Fortea (18 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 4-of-7 threes), NU sneaked away with the lead and sealed the game for good off a late and-one from Michael Malonzo.
Season 79 Finals MVP L-Jay Gonzales paced the Baby Tams with 21 points, 5 boards and 5 helpers on 9-of-13 shooting and 2-of-2 from downtown. Bryan Sajonia also did damage in just 15 minutes (15 points, 4-of-5 threes) but the team ultimately failed to clamp down on their late lead.
Following that thriller was another marquee matchup between the undefeated Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eaglets and 3rd-placer University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger Cubs. While the Cubs pounced out to an early 18-13 lead after the first quarter, they were slowly overpowered by the ultra-talented Ateneo squad which boasts 3 of the Top 5 MVP candidates, including 7-foot-1 Gilas 2023 prospect Kai Sotto. Ateneo ultimately won by 24, 78-54, to improve to 8-0 for Season 80. UST fell to 5-3, still at 3rd.
Sotto finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks off the bench while Dave Ildefonso added a game-high 20 points, 7 boards and 3 assists. SJ Belangel rounded up the MVP-level contributions with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 helpers of his own.
Frontrunner MVP candidate CJ Cansino – who expressed his desire to be a part of the 2023 Gilas roster after the loss – chipped in 16 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists but struggled from the field on 6-of-20 shooting. Only Cansino and Vince Dolendo (10 points) scored in double-figures for UST as the Eaglets held the Cubs to 27% shooting as a team.
Coming up third in the 4-game slate was a battle between the De La Salle University-Zobel (DLSZ) Junior Archers and the University of the East (UE) Junior Warriors. DLSZ handily won 93-74 thanks to double 20-point performances from Chris Calimag (22 points, 5 rebounds) and Rogil Carlos (20 points, 4 rebounds). UE actually led 49-48 after one half but DLSZ woke up and held them to just 25 second half points. The Archers had 23 markers in the third quarter alone, with 22 more in the fourth for good measure.
Bolstering the Warriors’ ranks was Shane Dichoso, who had 20 points on 6-of-6 shooting from downtown after one half. He only scored two more in the second half as his teammate Agem Miranda overtook him by contributing 24 points of his own in the losing effort. UE remains winless at 0-8.
The Adamson University (AdU) Baby Falcons blew out the University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) Fighting Maroons, 76-58. The brotherly duo of Andrey and Adam Doria combined for 29 points and 14 rebounds in the Falcons’ win while Matt Santiago dropped 21 points to lead the Maroon charge. UPIS never came close to the Falcons' score as they only managed 17 points for the entire first half. Their 41-point 2nd half did nothing to change their fortunes as they slipped to a 1-7 record for the season. Meanwhile, Adamson ties FEU for 4th at 4-4.
All 8 teams are scheduled next to appear on Wednesday, January 17 at the same venue.
Season 80 Standings (as of January 13, 2018)
School Win-Loss Record
Leonardo Dicaprio who will reunite with his Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino for his next movie. Photograph: Andrew Toth/WireImage
Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star in Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, set around the time of the Charles Manson murders.
Pulp science-fiction? How Quentin Tarantino could save Star Trek
According to Variety, the Oscar winner will play an aging actor in 1969 Los Angeles and his life will intersect with the murders. Reports have suggested that the structure will resemble a Pulp Fiction-esque ensemble piece. Vanity Fair claims the script follows a TV actor who wants to make it in the film business after one hit series alongside his sidekick, who also acts as his stunt double.
The film marks the second collaboration for the pair after 2012’s Django Unchained. Tarantino is reportedly keen to secure Margot Robbie to play Sharon Tate while Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are said to be circling two major roles. A role has also been written for Al Pacino, who is yet to sign on.
The as-yet-untitled drama will see Tarantino breaking away from his longstanding relationship with Harvey Weinstein. Sony has picked up the project after a heated bidding war.
“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” Tarantino said on Weinstein. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
The release date has been set for 9 August 2019 – the 50th anniversary of Tate’s death at the hands of members of the Manson family.
Last month also saw Tarantino attached to the next Star Trek installment after he pitched an R-rated idea to JJ Abrams, who is now setting up the project at Paramount. His last film The Hateful Eight delivered underwhelming box office, making just $54m in the US from a $44m budget.
DiCaprio’s last film The Revenant saw him win the best actor Oscar. He’s since been attached to a number of projects, including a Theodore Roosevelt biopic from Martin Scorsese and an adaptation of true crime novel The Black Hand.
SALT LAKE CITY – The Mormon church plans to announce its new leadership on Tuesday, acting in the wake of the death of President Thomas S. Monson.
A statement issued Wednesday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the announcement will be made by President Russell M. Nelson, who is the faith's senior apostle.
The church's statement says Nelson will address church members via live broadcast at 9 a.m. MST from Salt Lake City on satellite feeds and the church's social media and online channels.
Monson died Jan. 2 at age 90 after nearly a decade leading the church. Approximately 11,000 people attended a funeral Friday.
INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) offloaded almost 200 passengers on Sunday morning as one of its trains suffered an electrical glitch.
An MRT-3 report showed that the train offloaded its 180 commuters after it experienced an “electrical failure” around 9:15 a.m. at the northbound section of GMA-Kamuning Station.
The service disruption was caused by “worn out electrical sub-components,” the report said.
Affected passengers rode in a different train four minutes after. /je
MANILA, Philippines — Malacanang has reported that South Korea’s LG Corp. is interested in striking a joint venture with Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) in a bid to enter the Philippine telecommunications industry.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar made the revelation even as China Telecom gears to be the third player in the country, as earlier announced by President Duterte.
Citing his own sources, Andanar said LG is the Korean company that wants to partner with PT&T.
“It will become a very exciting telco industry for the Philippines this 2018,” he told DZBB Radio Friday night.
During a Cabinet meeting last Monday, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reported to the President the players who want to enter the telecoms industry.
Following Duterte’s latest pronouncements on China Telecom, the Korean firm expressed interest in challenging the duopoly of Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.
China Telecom, however, has not found a local partner with an existing franchise to comply with the country’s constitutional provision limiting foreign ownership to 40 percent.
As far as the administration is concerned, Andanar said the offer is also open to other countries which want to compete with Smart and Globe.
“Whoever has the best offer in the bidding wins. It’s not a monopoly when it comes to a third player. We really want the best,” he added.