Mac Cardona felt ‘like a rookie’ in PBA comeback

Rey Joble, InterAksyon
Comebacking player Mac Cardona admitted that he felt “like a rookie” when he stepped onto the PBA court for the first time in over a year.

“The Captain Hook” made his PBA return on Sunday, scoring four points and two rebounds in eight minutes of play for the GlobalPort Batang Pier in a 109-99 Oppo Governors’ Cup loss to the NLEX Road Warriors.

“Kinikilabutan nga ako ngayon feeling ko parang nasa UAAP ulit ako,” the former La Salle star said. “Nawala man ako ng isang taon, nakapagpahinga ako tapos ngayong pagbalik ko excited na excited ako ulit maglaro.

“Parang rookie ulit yung pakiramdam ko. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang itsura ko sa court basta masaya lang ulit ako na nakabalik.”

The former BPC and Finals MVP winner was hospitalized last year due to drug overdose. After taking time off basketball, he resurfaced last July in a short stint with Zark’s Burgers in the PBA D-League.

He then got a shot at a PBA return thanks to GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren, his former mentor at La Salle.

“Si Coach Franz parang tatay-tatayan ko na yan. Nung binisita niya ako sa hospital dati sinabihan niya ako, kapag ready ka na ulit mag-basketball sabihin mo lang sa akin,” Cardona said.

“After ng nangyari sa akin last year, di ko inexpect na may kukuha pa sa akin.”

Cardona said he isn’t looking at his past anymore: “Naka-move on na ako sa lahat. Looking forward. Nagdadasal na lang ako.”

He also revealed that his former collegiate rival Paul Tanchi who once played for the Ateneo Blue Eagles is now helping him pick up the pieces and move forward.

“Ang mentor ko sa simbahan si Paul Tanchi. Hindi ko ini-expect na siya yung magiging adviser ko,” added Cardona.

Justin Brownlee braces for more free throw sessions after Ginebra’s struggles in Manila Clasico

PBA Media Bureau
Despite getting the win, Justin Brownlee rued Barangay Ginebra’s missed free throws in their Manila Clasico encounter against the Star Hotshots in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday.

The Gin Kings missed a total of 18 free throws out of their 30 attempts. Still, they managed to escape with a 105-101 overtime win.

Brownlee said he expects the team to undergo free throw refreshers in the team’s upcoming practices.

“We missed, I don’t know, how many free throws? I’m sure over this week coming up we’re going to spend a lot of time shooting. If we don’t make it, we’re gonna be running,” Brownlee said.

With the win, the defending champions nailed their sixth straight victory to improve to 6-1 and grab the top spot in the team standings.

The Gin Kings are now in a good position to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs, something which Brownlee doesn’t want to think about right now.

“We don’t want to go too far ahead of us. But if we keep going the way we’re going now, we’ll put ourselves in a great position to make a run for it,” Brownlee said.

Brady not thinking of ’08 injury as he prepares for Chiefs

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts before a preseason game with the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash/Getty Images/AFP

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts — The previous time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady opened a season at home against Kansas City in 2008, it ended with him limping off the field with a season-ending knee injury.
Now nine years removed from the most significant injury of his career, Brady said it is the furthest thing from his mind as New England prepares to host the Chiefs on Thursday night.
“Yeah, I didn’t think about that,” Brady said Monday. “Time flies.”

What’s also a distant memory is the unfamiliar situation he found himself in last season when he was forced to sit out the first four games of 2016 after accepting his four-game “Deflategate” punishment.
Brady brushed off that disappointment by capturing his fifth Super Bowl in February. Now he’s happy just to be thinking about football and how to get the best of a Kansas City team that was the AFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs last season.
It’s a unique challenge for a Patriots offense that will have several new options for the 40-year-old quarterback to utilize as he tries to deal with a defense that ranked first in the NFL last season with 33 takeaways.
With minimal new film of Kansas City’s starters to dissect at this point, Brady is expecting to see plenty of wrinkles from what he called an “explosive” unit.
One of the players he singled out was cornerback Marcus Peters. Peters tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions during the 2015 regular season. He followed that up by tying for second in the league with six picks in 2016.
Brady also is expecting to be challenged by safety Eric Berry and the active linebacker duo of Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston.
“They have playmakers,” Brady said. “When they’re roaming around, you can’t just stare them down right where you want to throw the ball. It’s always a little cat and mouse with safeties and cornerbacks. … That’s why they force that many turnovers.”
But Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said familiarity alone won’t be enough to get Brady off his game.

“I don’t know if it helps. You’re aware of how good he is,” Sutton said. “When you play (271) games, pass for 61,000 yards — or whatever he has — you’re playing against a football player, a quarterback that’s really talented, that has a great skillset — great command of his offense in all regards. It’s just a huge challenge.”
But even at 40, Brady said opening a season in prime time still offers the same excitement as it did early in his career.
“Everyone’s pretty amped up for this one,” he said. “It’s been waiting a long time for this. … It’s a big game and it’s an important one.”


Cannondale-Drapac launch crowdfunding campaign

Cannondale-Drapac racing the team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico (Tim de Waele/


'SaveArgyle' push seeks $7 million, with $2 million to be matched by consulting firm 'and generous supporters'

Cannondale-Drapac have turned to crowdfunding to try to stay afloat after a planned new sponsor backed out for the 2018 season.

Following the sponsorship partner's unexpected withdrawal, the American WorldTour outfit announced over the weekend that a lack of funds left the team unable to 'guarantee our financial security and subsequently our WorldTour license.' In a statement, the Slipstream Sports organisation that owns the squad said riders and staff were free to look elsewhere in the peloton for contracts, but that existing contracts would be honoured if the team found the money to continue.

Cannondale-Drapac are looking to crowdfunding, along with support from a consulting firm called the Fairly Group, as potential solutions to the problem.

The campaign, hosted on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, has a 'flexible goal' of two million dollars, with the Fairly Group 'and other generous supporters' apparently matching all donations up to the goal. Indiegogo projects with flexible goals receive all funds raised, even if they do not reach the full goal amount.

Having re-upped with Rigoberto Urán and other top names before announcing their budgeting crisis, Cannondale-Drapac have estimated the amount they were short for 2018 at seven million dollars. A fully funded Indiegogo campaign and the full match of funds would bring them to four million dollars, more than halfway towards that amount.

As an Indiegogo campaign, 'SaveArgyle' offers a tiered reward structure for backers. Rewards include exclusive content, team swag, recognition on the team website and group rides with the team. Donors of $20,000 or more receive invitations to team training camp or race days during the upcoming season.

TNT ends Blackwater’s franchise-best streak with wire-to-wire win

PBA Media Bureau
TNT KaTropa spoiled the Blackwater Elite’s franchise-best win streak after cruising to a 117-96 win in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Import Glen Rice Jr. finished with 31 points, six rebounds, four assists and seven steals as he led TNT’s dismantling of Blackwater which was sent crashing back to earth after the end of its three-game win streak.

Kelly Williams also put up a vintage performance, scoring 21 points including some highlight-reel dunks.

TNT zoomed to a 20-8 lead behind its hot shooting early in the game as KaTropa made all of its first four three-pointers in the opening minutes.

Blackwater quickly managed to cut the deficit to just one, 24-23, after the Elite finally found their rhythm on offense.

But after a long break early in the second frame due to technical difficulties, TNT went on a rampage. KaTropa scored eight unanswered points to begin the period where they simply outclassed the Elite in scoring, 34-15.

TNT already built a 62-40 cushion at the half and never looked back to pick up its second straight win and improve to 4-2.

Henry Walker scored 33 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Elite (3-4) who lost for the first time since having the former NBA player as their import.

The scores:

TNT 117 – Rice Jr. 31, Williams 21, Castro 11, Lingganay 10, Tautuaa 9, Reyes 8, Pogoy 8, De Ocampo 7, Carey 6, Rosario 3, Semerad 3, Golla 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0.

BLACKWATER 96 – Walker 33, Erram 18, Digregorio 12, Sumang 8, Belo 7, Canaleta 6, Cruz 4, Pinto 4, Gamalinda 2, Pascual 2, Miranda 0, Sena 0.

Quarters: 28-25, 62-40, 92-71, 117-96.

Ginebra steamrolls Phoenix to notch 5th straight win

PBA Media Bureau
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel steamrolled the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 105-92, to stretch its win streak to five games in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Import Justin Brownlee dropped 24 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks for an all-around effort to lead Ginebra (5-1) which is currently the hottest team in the league.

Japeth Aguilar also put up 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks as the Gin Kings aim to extend their win streak in their next match against Manila Clasico rival Star Hotshots on Sunday.

After leading 51-38 in the second quarter, Ginebra blew its big lead after allowing Phoenix to go on a 10-0 run.

The Gin Kings countered with a big 16-2 run in the third frame to establish a commanding 80-62 advantage as they handcuffed the Fuel Masters especially sharpshooters Matthew Wright and Jeff Chan.

With twin towers Aguilar and Japeth Slaughter manning the paint, Ginebra also feasted on the offensive boards, 34-16, against the smaller Fuel Masters squad. That alone translated to 34 second chance points.

Wright still scored 21 points but struggled to get good looks, only shooting 4-for-11 from downtown. Brandon Brown made 26 points and 18 rebounds but that couldn’t rescue Phoenix (2-7) from its seventh straight loss.

The scores:

GINEBRA 105 – Brownlee 24, Aguilar 19, Slaughter 14, Devance 14, Tenorio 12, Thompson 8, Mercado 5, Mariano 3, Cruz 2, Ellis 2, Taha 2, Marcelo 0, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Caguioa 0.

PHOENIX 92 – Brown 26, Wright 21, Kramer 11, Intal 11, Chan 7, Jazul 6, Eriobu 4, Alolino 4, Dehesa 2, Lanete 0, W. Wilson 0, Miranda 0.

Quarters: 29-26, 53-50, 85-68, 105-92.

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