Chile, Argentina dispute Copa América crown

The Copa América’s most successful team goes up against this year’s tournament host as Argentina and Chile wage war on the pitch for the 44th staging of the continent’s biggest football event.

Vargas and Vidal

Eduado Vargas and Arturo Vidal have to overcome mighty Argentina to win Chile’s first continental cup. (Silvia Izquierdo)

Chile, which topped Group A, beat a Luis Suárez-less Uruguay in the round of eight en route to defeating Peru in the semifinal. Argentina, on the other hand, had to go through a penalty shootout to overcome Colombia before thrashing Paraguay, 6-1, in their semis encounter.

Agüero and Messi

The partnership of Agüero and Messi have been producing magic on the pitch for La Albiceleste. (Ian Walton)

Edurado Vargas of La Roja is currently the frontrunner for the Golden Boot award with four goals, followed by teammate Arturo Vidal and Argentine Sergio Agüero, both with three.

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Mercedes drivers lead the way at F1 British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, the past two winners of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix, will go at it this weekend as Mercedes tries to keep its stranglehold of the current F1 season.

Hamilton and Rosberg

Hamilton and Rosberg lording over the competition this season. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The two have won all but one race this year and they plan to keep it that way as they are also one-two in the driver standings with the reigning champion holding the lead with 169 points and his German teammate ten points behind. Ferrari drivers follow them with former champ Sebastian Vettel, the only other Grand Prix victor this season, behind with 120 points and Kimi Räikkönen with 72.

Over at the constructor standings, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Williams are the only teams to have breached the 100-point mark.

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PBA Governors’ Cup playoffs underway

The 40th PBA season, as well as the season-ending Governors’ Cup, is already on its homestretch. And with the quick playoff format that the conference has, we already zoomed into the semifinals. Here are the matchups:

Alaska Aces vs Star Hotshots

Alaska vs Star

The Alaska Aces will try to overcome the defending champions to reach the finals. (Photo courtesy of Rivals Sports Network)

Top seed Alaska put away the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the first try, while the Star Hotshots buckled down to work to eliminate the GlobalPort Batang Pier despite having a twice-to-win disadvantage. Alaska won its meeting against Star in the elims, but with Tim Cone’s Hotshots chugging along fine, expect this one to be a close series.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters vs San Miguel Beermen

ROS vs SMB

Arizona Reid goes up against his former team in the semifinals of the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup. (Photo courtesy of PBA Images)

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters went through the grinder against Barako Bull in the quarterfinals, having to overcome the Energy in double overtime. They will go up against the San Miguel Beermen, which had to overcome the Meralco Bolts in two games. The Beermen emerged on top against the Elasto Painters in their elimination round meeting, 104-91. The sidelight in this matchup is the brewing rivalry between ROS head coach Yeng Guiao and former E-Painters now current SMB import Arizona Reid.

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The Wimbledon Championships takes center stage

Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitová both have targets on their back as they defend their respective Wimbledon singles championships this year.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

Fresh from losing to Stanislas Wawrinka at the French Open, the men’s singles world number one will go for his third All-England title and ninth Grand Slam. Other than Wawrinka, standing on Djokovic’s path are last year’s Wimbledon finalist Roger Federer, local hero Andy Murray, and Japanese sensation Nishikori Kei.

Petra Kvitová

Petra Kvitová (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)

In the women’s singles draw, Kvitová is the second seed behind ageless Serena Williams, who at 33 years old is still playing top form tennis as she recently won Grand Slam number 20 after claiming her third trophy at Roland Garros. Returning to the 25-year old two-time Wimbledon winner, she has won two WTA tournaments this year and is looking to gather her third trophy this season and in England as well.

Tough nuts to crack in the women’s singles draw include Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, and Angelique Kerber.

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NBA draft all set on Friday

Some NBA fans might not have yet recovered from the just concluded season, but the new one is about to start on June 26, Philippine time, with the annual rookie draft.

The Minnesota Timberwolves get dibs as they start their rebuild in earnest. If mock drafts are to be followed, they will be deciding between Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky or Jahlil Okafor of Duke. Whoever they don’t choose will most likely go to the Los Angeles Lakers, which was able to nab the second pick in the draft lottery.

The rest of the top ten picks will proceed as follows: Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat.

Aside from Towns and Okafor, other recognizable names in this year’s draft class include twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, D’Angelo Russell, Mario Hezonja, Kristaps Porziņģis, Emmanuel Mudiay, Willie Cauley-Stein, Justise Winslow, Frank Kaminsky, Julian Washburn, and Larry Nance, Jr.

Whose name will get called first? Which team will select a sleeper? Which squad will pull off a surprise move on draft day? These will be answered this Friday morning.

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2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup

PBA Comis cup

The 40th PBA season rolls along as barely a week will pass between the final game of the Philippine Cup and the Commissioner’s Cup, which is slated to begin on January 27. The tournament will feature imports with a height limit of 6-9 for the top eight teams of the All-Filipino conference as well as reinforcements of unlimited height for the previous conference’s bottom four.

Defending champions Purefoods Star Hotshots will parade Marqus Blakely for the fourth straight year. He is on interim as they await Daniel Orton, who is currently campaigning for the Sichuan Blue Whales at the Chinese Basketball Association. Also returning for another tour of duty is last year’s Commissioner’s Cup best import Richard Howell of the Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters.

Image by: Pranz Kaeno Billones and Interaksyon

Marqus Blakely – Image by: Pranz Kaeno Billones

image by: PBA-Online.net

Richard Howell – Image by: PBA-Online.net

Another balik-import is Michael Dunigan of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. He previously played for the Air21 Express in 2013. He averaged 23.9 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.4 blocks in 15 games for the Express.

Image by: Spin.ph

Micheal Dunigan – Image by: Spin.ph

One of the most recognizable imports this conference is the NLEX Road Warriors’ Al Thornton. A first round draft pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007, he played at the NBA for six seasons, compiling averages of 11.9 points and 4.2 rebounds.

Officially measured at 7-2 3/4, Puerto Rican Peter John Ramos is the tallest in this year’s batch. Then 19 years old, he played one season at the NBA, seeing action for the Washington Wizards in six games in 2004-05

Image by: Spin.ph

Al Thornton – Image by: Spin.ph

Others who had NBA experience include Solomon Alabi of the Barako Bull Energy and Arinze Onuaku of recently crowned Philippine Cup champions San Miguel Beermen. Completing the cast are CJ Leslie (GlobalPort Batang Pier), Rick Jackson (Rain or Shine Elasto Painters), DJ Covington (Alaska Aces), Josh Davis (Meralco), and Chris Charles (Blackwater Elite).

Unlike the Philippine Cup, only eight teams will advance after the single round robin eliminations. The first and second seeds will have a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, while the four middle squads will scuffle in a best-of-three series. Winners will then advance to the best-of-five semifinals with the two victors there battling it out for the championship in the race-to-four-wins finals.

Image by: Interaskyon

Image by: Interaskyon

Can Purefoods defend their crown or will another team hoist the trophy at the end of the conference? Will Howell win another best import award? Will the handicap given to the bottom four squads level the playing field or will the dominant powers continue to lord it over?

How will Talk ‘n Text cope with the retirement of Jimmy Alapag? Can Dunigan lead the Barangay to the promised land or will San Miguel make it two in a row?

These questions will be answered when the Commissioner’s Cup begin next Tuesday as opening day games pit GlobalPort against Kia and Ginebra versus Meralco.

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Road to Super Bowl XLIX has begun

Road to Super Bowl XLIX has begun

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The NFL playoffs began last weekend with the wild card games. This weekend, it will be the divisional playoffs as defending Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks take on fourth seed Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers battle the Dallas Cowboys over at the NFC, while AFC first seed New England Patriots go up against the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos clash against the Indianapolis Colts in the other bracket.

Photo Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

Seatlle Seahawks – Photo Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

The Seahawks are out to prove that their championship run last season was no fluke as they go for a second straight title. Quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch, and Filipino-American wide receiver Doug Baldwin will once again lead the charge for the Paul Allen-owned franchise.

Photo Courtesy of www.cbssports.com

Tony Romo – Photo Courtesy of http://www.cbssports.com

Photo Courtesy of www.athletize.com

Payton Manning – Photo Courtesy of http://www.athletize.com

A Super Bowl ring is the only thing lacking in Tony Romo’s collection as the 34-year old quarterback will try to gain what has eluded him in his illustrious career. Out to frustrate Romo for yet another season are Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

Interestingly, Peyton Manning is on a collision course against his former team as the Broncos rewrite history and erase the memories of the thrashing they received against Seattle in last year’s Super Bowl.  Will the Colts’ good fortune continue with Andrew Luck at the helm?

Finally, the Patriots are on resurgence as the ageless Tom Brady attests that he still has game and that he and coach Bill Belichick can win another Vince Lombardi Trophy.

If being in the playoffs is a criteria to win the MVP award, then sentimental favorite JJ Watt of the Houston Texans won’t get it. If he manages to buck the odds though, Watt will become only the third defensive player to win that individual award. Nevertheless, other contenders include Rodgers, Brady, Romo, and DeMarco Murray of Dallas.

The NFL season has created headlines outside the gridiron as much as on it. Michael Sam became the first openly gay player drafted in the league, but has not played a single game yet. Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended for six games after being found guilty of driving under the influence. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy were handed different levels of sanctions after they were found guilty of domestic violence and physical abuse.

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