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Exclusive: Beermen continue embracing role of PH Cup favorites

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San Miguel

#Beermen #continue #embracing #role #Cup #favorites

San Miguel's CJ Perez. PBA IMAGES

San Miguel’s CJ Perez. PBA IMAGES

Leo Austria is no longer a stranger to the perils that come with being a tournament favorite. So on Thursday night, he issued a challenge: Bring it on.

San Miguel Beer used its souped up roster to the hilt, erasing a double-digit deficit to beat NLEX, 100-92, and claiming a second-straight victory in the PBA Philippine Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

“They tag us always as the powerhouse because of the enormous talent in our lineup. But we have to live up to expectations—of the crowd, the fans, the management,” said Austria, who made it known before the season started that the Beermen were out to reclaim a title they had won nine times in franchise history, including five straight from 2014 to 2019.

“It’s [actually] a good thing putting pressure on us, because everyone is willing to step up,” he went on.

Shackled

Seeing their cornerstone June Mar Fajardo shackled by the enemy, the Beermen instead turned to CJ Perez, veterans Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross, and new additions Vic Manuel and Jericho Cruz for production.

Perez, the league’s two-time scoring champion, led the way with 19 points. Manuel and Cruz combined for 13 in the third period to help the club retake the lead going into the final frame.

Fajardo then joined hands with fellow big man Mo Tautuaa in the fourth to send the Road Warriors to a 1-1 record.

“We were so lucky because before this conference, we had two months to address that kind of problem—chemistry. There were a lot of players coming in from different teams. They knew different systems so they all had to adjust,” he said.

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“But you can’t really adjust by just telling things. We had to practice, and we’re so lucky we had ample time to adjust,” Austria added.

Don Trollano put up 21 points for NLEX. Calvin Oftana tossed in 16 while three more finished in double figures.

“Before the start of this conference, we told the boys that we need to have a good start in order to get a good rhythm,” Austria said. “I think this [victory] will add confidence to this team.”

No Mikey yet

Meanwhile, the Tropang Giga is set to miss Mikey Williams for a third straight contest as contract negotiations continue to hang in the balance.

“Nope. Not true,” Chot Reyes told the Inquirer when asked about reports swirling on social media that the Filipino-American guard has already committed to signing a new deal with the team.

Williams, who was integral in TNT’s championship run in last season’s Philippine Cup, is negotiating for a bigger paycheck after invoking a special clause in his contract. He helped the Tropang Giga to a 10-1 record in the elimination round of that campaign.

A legitimate scorer whose numbers put him in the running in the last season’s Most Valuable Player race, Williams would’ve been huge for TNT last Thursday when the club lost to perennial league doormat Blackwater, 85-78.


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Exclusive: NBA: Steve Clifford to be coach of Hornets for second time—report – TalkOfNews.com

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Steve Clifford NBA

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Steve Clifford NBA

Oct 9, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford reacts during the second half against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Clifford agreed to a multi-year deal on Friday for a second tour of duty as coach of the Charlotte Hornets, according to multiple reports.

The 60-year-old Clifford went 196-214 with two playoff appearances in five seasons with the club from 2013-18. He was fired after going 36-46 in the 2017-18 campaign.

The move comes after Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson agreed to become coach of the Hornets and later reneged on the deal.

After being dismissed by Charlotte, Clifford spent three seasons with the Orlando Magic and went 96-131. He has an overall mark of 292-345 in eight NBA seasons.

Clifford’s first two Orlando squads made the postseason but his final team went 21-51, the third-worst record in the league. Clifford and the Magic elected to part ways following the campaign.

Clifford spent last season in a consulting role for the Brooklyn Nets.

Clifford is just 11 wins shy of matching the Charlotte record for coaching victories held by Allan Bristow (207 from 1991-96).

Charlotte also considered veteran coach Mike D’Antoni for the job.

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The Hornets fired James Borrego after going 43-39 last season. Charlotte lost to the Atlanta Hawks in a play-in game to miss the postseason for the sixth straight season.

Borrego went 138-163 in his four seasons with the Hornets. Last season was his only winning campaign.

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Exclusive: Dalot's ready to roll – TalkOfNews.com

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Dalot's ready to roll

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United Daily | Diogo Dalot on pre-season, David May’s favourite goal, and a classic tour clip that ends up in the bin…

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Exclusive: The 30-year Origin hoodoo haunting New South Wales – TalkOfNews.com

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#30year #Origin #hoodoo #haunting #South #Wales

It’s almost 30 years since a Blues team came back to win a State of Origin series after losing the opener in Sydney, but two stars of that memorable NSW team of 1994 have laid down a blueprint for Brad Fittler’s men to follow.

Brilliant fullback Tim Brasher and giant back-rower Paul Sironen admitted things looked bleak for the Blues when Mark Coyne scored the famous last-minute try to win the Queenslanders an epic Game One that series.

“I know how this team feels – because it’s the same way we felt back in ’94,” Sironen, now a member of the Blues’ management team, told Wide World of Sports from Perth.

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“When you have game one at home you just have to win it – and we blew it.

“We didn’t play as well as we could have and we didn’t execute the way we trained and we knew we were really going to be up against it for the rest of the series.

“But what we did was turn that to our advantage by using that frustration, disappointment and anger at ourselves to spur us on.

“We levelled the series in Melbourne and it then all came down to the decider in Brisbane.”

Brasher has vivid memories of the lead-up to the all-important third match at Lang Park.

“Everyone was telling us about Lang Park being the cauldron and how we would cop it up there and I must admit I wasn’t all that confident in the week leading up to the game,” Brasher said.

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“But then on game night, as our team bus went down Caxton Street and they came out of the pub and shook the bus and threw bottles at us, I think that actually did us a favour.

“It galvanised us, gave us a siege mentality and we were determined to go all the way.”

The Blues won the decider 27-12, with a young Brad Fittler playing in the centres.

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