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Exclusive: Formula One: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc storms to pole in Baku qualifying

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Charles Leclerc Ferrari Baku

Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc celebrates after claiming pole position in the qualifying session for the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit in Baku on June 11, 2022. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP)

BAKU – Charles Leclerc unleashed a dazzling display of speed around the unforgiving Baku street track to put his Ferrari on pole position for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Monegasque, taking his fourth pole in a row and sixth from eight races this season, will line up alongside the Red Bull of Sergio Perez after beating the Monaco-winning Mexican by 0.282 seconds.

His championship rival Max Verstappen, who leads the 24-year-old by nine points in the overall standings, will line up on the second row of the grid in third, alongside Leclerc’s Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz.

His qualifying performance earned Leclerc his 15th career pole.

It also made the Leclerc the first driver to take a repeat pole in Baku, having also started last year’s Azerbaijan race from the front.

“This one I didn’t expect and I thought Red Bull were stronger,” he said.

“In the last lap everything came together.”

Verstappen and Perez had taken turns at the top of the timesheets during the first two phases of qualifying.

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But Perez reported an engine issue while his Dutch teammate, who let out a frustrated sigh over the team radio, said his car did not quite have the pace to take the fight to his Ferrari rival.

The pair’s Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, however, assured both drivers that they were still very much in the fight for the win on Sunday.

“At a track you can overtake at, hopefully we can give them a hard time tomorrow,” he said.

Leclerc, who despite his streak of pole positions took his last win at the Australian Grand Prix in March, knows pole on Saturday is only half the job done.

The Monegasque, who lost what appeared to be easy wins in the last two races in Spain and Monaco to reliability and strategy gremlins, will be aiming to maintain the Baku race’s record of producing a new winner each year.

Unpredictable

There has been plenty of drama on the Azerbaijan track, which runs around a barrier-lined layout.

During qualifying, Lance Stroll crashed his Aston Martin to bring out the red flags in the hour-long session’s opening phase.

The Canadian’s teammate Sebastian Vettel also planted his Aston Martin in the barriers but was able to continue.

Lewis Hamilton was summoned by the stewards for slowing down ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Alexander Albon vented his frustration over the team radio, calling for Alpine’s Fernando Alonso to be penalized after the Spaniard appeared to drive off the track and down the escape road right in front of the Thai driver’s Williams.

George Russell qualified ahead of Mercedes teammate Hamilton for the third race in a row to take best-of-the-rest honors in fifth.

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Pierre Gasly put his AlphaTauri sixth ahead of the seven-time world champion.

The Frenchman’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda was eighth ahead of Vettel and Alonso who rounded out the top-10.

Qualifying got underway 15 minutes late due to a Formula Two crash that damaged the barriers and pushed back the start of final practice.

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Exclusive: PBA: Baser Amer’s game-winner lifts Blackwater past Meralco for 4-1 start – TalkOfNews.com

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Blackwater's Baser Amer torments former team Meralco.

Blackwater’s Baser Amer torments former team Meralco. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Blackwater claimed its third-straight victory on Thursday night, taking down Meralco in thrilling fashion, 90-89, in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Baser Amer stuck it to his old team, hitting the game-winning jumper to will the Bossing past a seasoned club that’s blossoming into a formidable all-Filipino crew.

“I told Baser that this is a game he’s going to win for us. You can ask him,” said coach Ariel Vanguardia. “It really took a Meralco player to beat them.”

Ato Ular sustained his fine form, delivering another double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds. JVee Casio scored just as much in a vintage performance that helped the club to a 4-1 record in the race.

Rey Suerte added 15 while Rashawn McCarthy 12 more for Blackwater which now braces for a densely-packed schedule.

Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, the top pick of the draft, finished with eight points under managed minutes in his first back since a finger injury.

The Bossing play Phoenix, San Miguel Beer, Rain or Shine, and then NLEX every other day starting July 8.

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Exclusive: Bellamy rues lost 'badge of honour' after loss – TalkOfNews.com

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Storm coach Craig Bellamy lamented after Melbourne’s shock showing against Manly that his side had lost a “badge of honour”, ruing his troops’ submission amid the State of Origin period.

Melbourne’s performance has traditionally remained strong despite the club’s heavy Origin representation, but the second-placed Storm flopped in a 36-30 defeat to the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night.

The scoreboard flattered the visitors, who trailed 36-12 with five minutes remaining before piling on a flurry of tries in a wild finish.

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Bellamy was scathing in his assessment of Melbourne’s display, even labelling it “soft”.

“After about 60 minutes we were getting what we deserved. We sort of sparked a bit at the end, but that’s too late,” Bellamy said.

“At the end of the day, if you’re going to win games here at this level you need to be pretty consistent the whole 80 minutes – and we certainly weren’t.

“We can make some excuses about rep round and whatever, but Manly was in the same boat.

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“I was just really disappointed in our defence and really disappointed in some individual performances. Just weren’t up to scratch.”

Watch State of Origin exclusively live and free on Channel 9 and 9Now.

The Storm conceded 18 points in an opening half for the first time since round 18, 2019, when the Titans ran in three converted tries on the Gold Coast.

Jason Saab and Tolutau Koula bagged doubles, and back-rower Haumole Olakau’atu scored a try off a 20-metre run that made the Melbourne defence look frail at best.

Storm mount incredible comeback over ‘slack’ Manly

“We were all over the place, especially in the first hour … (it was) just about making your tackles. How many soft tries they scored. They were just going through us. At the end of the day that’s not good enough,” Bellamy said.

“I’m not going to be too hard on them because, as I said, at the end of the day, our effort areas have been good this year.

“If you want to come up with some excuses you can, but at the end of the day, in past years when we’ve had the rep round our guys have really worn it as a badge of honour to back up and back up and play well. I’m not sure we quite did that today.”

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NRL Highlights: Sea Eagles v Storm – Round 16

Ryan Papenhuyzen played his first match since round nine, when he injured his left hamstring in a clash with the Dragons.

The New South Welshman got through the entire game and blitzed Manly with two tries in the final five minutes, but his output was meagre.

“I think it’s going to take him a couple of weeks to get back into rhythm again,” Bellamy said.

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“But we saw what he can do a little bit at the end.

“Hopefully he can get a little bit more involved every game he plays.”

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Exclusive: Vucinic: Hard to find positives after Gilas Pilipinas ‘heavy loss’ to New Zealand – TalkOfNews.com

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Gilas Pilipinas after its blowout loss to New Zealand in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Auckland.

#Vucinic #Hard #find #positives #Gilas #Pilipinas #heavy #loss #Zealand

Gilas Pilipinas after its blowout loss to New Zealand in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Auckland.

Gilas Pilipinas after its blowout loss to New Zealand in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Auckland. –FIBA BASKETBALL

MANILA, Philippines–Gilas Pilipinas coach Nenad Vucinic was hardly in the mood to pore over any encouraging signs in the Philippines’ 106-60 beatdown at the hands of New Zealand in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Thursday.

“It’s very hard to find positives with such a heavy loss,” he said shortly after the clash at Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland.

“I don’t think there was any point in focusing on the positives. We have to eliminate the negative things that we had tonight,” he added.

The Nationals were roughed up early into the contest. A laughable second quarter compounded Gilas’ woes, eventually burying them to holes as deep as 46 points and ultimately dooming the Filipinos to a 1-2 record in Group A play.

“A very tough night for this young team,” said Vucinic, who is calling the shots on an interim basis.

“We have come across a Tall Blacks team that displayed a high intensity and very good execution. We struggled to contain them in that part of the game—physicality, intensity, and speed. And we struggled really offensively to get things going.”

Gilas Pilipinas' young stars vs New Zealand.

Gilas Pilipinas’ young stars vs New Zealand. –FIBA BASKETBALL

Carl Tamayo starred for Gilas, putting up 16 points and five rebounds until he was plucked from the game in the fourth period due to a sprained ankle.

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Rhenz Abando chipped in 11 more into the scoring effort, which was frosty to say the least.

Gilas shot just 34 percent from the field against the hosts’ 50 percent. It also hurt that the Filipinos were missing the injured Ange Kouame, the Philippines’ 6-foot-11 naturalized player who could have helped address the discrepancy in size.

The only thing Vucinic and the Nationals are clinging to as they board the plane and endure a grueling 18-hour trip back to Manila where they will host India this Sunday is that they now know just how perfect they have to be able to go toe-to-toe against other countries.

“It is a good thing for the young players to understand what level now we need to be at [in order] to play at a high level in international basketball,” he said.

“The Tall Blacks have dominated us in all aspects of the game. And that’s something that will help us to get better in the future,” he added.

The Philippines will shoot for a repeat over India when they tangle 7 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Gilas beat the Indians by 24 points in their first meeting. But with Vucinic crew girding for Tamayo’s absence, the results could be a little different.

“It’s very hard to see that in three days he’ll be able to recover. And if he does recover and puts a jersey on, he’s probably not gonna be as effective as he would be without an injury. So other players need to be stepping up,” he said.

“We know we know we came with three guys playing the forward position. Now we’re down to two,” he added with a nervous chuckle. “So it’s difficult. But again, we don’t want excuses. We want to try to have a good game and have a chance to win on Sunday.”

The Scores:

NEW ZEALAND 106 — Prewster 15, Delany 14, Ngatai 12, Rusbatch 12, Webster 11, Ili 10, Vodanovich 8, Britt 7, Cameron 6, Smith-Milner 5, Timmins 4, Harris 2.

PHILIPPINES 60 — Tamayo 16, Abando 11, Lopez 8, Ramos 6, Ravena 6, Quiambao 4, Belangel 3, Chiu 2, Navarro 2, Abarrientos 2, Ildefonso 0.

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Quarterscores: 23-13, 47-21, 73-43, 106-60.

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