Star deals Alaska another heartbreaking loss in overtime

-Jane Bracher

HUGE COMEBACK. Paul Lee (L) helps Star complete a 21-point comeback against Alaska. Photo from PBA Images 

MANILA, Philippines – The Star Hotshots fought back from 21 points down and frustrated the Alaska Aces in overtime, 102-98, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Wednesday, May 31, at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Hotshots made one cold-blooded shot after another in response to the Aces trying to salvage the victory after blowing a 17-point lead entering the fourth period.

Ricardo Ratliffe posted 35 points, grabbed 28 rebounds, and blocked 5 shots in almost 50 minutes of play as Star finished the eliminations with a 9-2 record and on 5-game win streak, still in the running for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.

Paul Lee displayed his lethal clutch gene once more with 18 points off the bench, including a booming 3-pointer from way out that gave Star a 4-point lead with over a minute left in overtime.

Justin Melton was likewise clutch with a couple of treys in the extra session, the second one proved to be the dagger as the Hotshots regained the 100-98 advantage for good with 26 seconds to go. Ratliffe then iced the game with a pair of free throws.

The Hotshots went on a blistering 21-3 run in the fourth period to make it only a 3-point game with over 3 minutes remaining. They got their first taste of the lead with 5:30 left in regulation on a Jio Jalalon 3-pointer, as Star's guards finally came to life on offense.

It was another heartbreaking loss for the Aces as their tailspin now stretched to 7 straight setbacks after starting the conference at 4-0. The losing skid is now the franchise's longest since at least the era of famed coach Tim Cone, per PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.

Calvin Abueva fought tooth and nail, through cramps and hard falls, to save his team from another painful blow. But his 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and two blocks weren't enough as Alaska continues to struggle with closing out games this conference.

Cory Jefferson, whose two free throws forced overtime at 89-all, finished with 21 markers, 13 boards, and 3 blocks.

Chris Banchero added 19 points and 7 assists, while Kevin Racal had 13 points and 8 rebounds.


Star (102): Ratliffe 35, Lee 18, Melton 12, Sangalang 10, Jalalon 7, Ramos 7, Reavis 4, Simon 4, Maliksi 3, Barroca 2, Abundo 0, Brondial 0.

Alaska (98): Abueva 22, Jefferson 21, Banchero 19, Racal 13, Thoss 9, Manuel 6, Exciminiano 4, Enciso 2, Hontiveros 2, Pascual 0, Galliguez 0. 

Quarter scores: 14-26, 34-47, 56-73, 89-89, 102-98.


Ride your way to Fort William with this road trip

Make the most of the journey with these must-ride places along the way.
By Andrew McCandlish/

Making your way up to the World Cup in Fort William this weekend? Why not take your bike with you on an ultimate Scottish road trip.

Four of the stops are on the way up to Fort William, and one we think deserves a few hours detour on your way home.

1.Tweed Valley

No Scottish road trip would be complete without a visit to the Tweed Valley, home of the region’s original man-made trails. Take your pick of everything from cruising a family green trail at Glentress right through to steep and woodsy extreme grade singletrack, plummeting through the trees above Innerleithen.

Those are just the Forestry Commission trails – once you’re done with the official riding, go off-grid to the Golf Course trails, guerilla-built enduro singletrackregularly ridden by some of the UK’s best bike stars. The area was recently used for a stage in the 2015 Enduro World Series too – yes, it really is that good.


Contador confirmed to lead Trek-Segafredo at Criterium du Dauphine


Trek-Segafredo has confirmed Alberto Contador will lead its team at the Criterium du Dauphine in preparation for July's Tour de France. Contador hasn't raced since finishing second overall at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and will be hoping the same approach as 2016 to the Dauphine will lead to success.

Contador has finished on the Dauphine podium three times in his career with tenth place his worse result from seven starts. In 2016, Contador won the Les Gets prologue and enjoyed several days in yellow before slipping to fifth place overall.

At the Criterium du Dauphine, the 34-year-old will be well supported by his Trek-Segafredo team which features predominately Spanish riders. Haimer Zubeldia, Jesus Hernandez, and Markel Irizar will all be key men in the high mountains for Contador.

In 2017, Contador has finished second overall at Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Paris-Nice and the Ruta del Sol but is still searching for his first win in Trek-Segafredo colours.

Although Colombian Jarlinson Pantano misses the race and instead heads to Tour de Suisse, Austrian Michael Gogl will be on hand in the mountains for Contador. Gogl is likely to be a key man at the Tour de France for Contador with the Dauphine an important test against the likes the Chris Froome (Team Sky), Richie Porte (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

(Edward Theuns)




Belgian Edward Theuns is the sole fast man in the team and will be given opportunities in the flatter stages to chase stage wins. The team is rounded out by domestiques Andre Cardoso and Fumiyuki Beppu.

The Criterium du Dauphine starts with a 170.5km stage around Saint-Étienne on Sunday, followed with a 171km stage from Saint-Chamond to Arlanc. The stage 4 time trial from La Tour-du-Pin to Bourgoin-Jallieu should see the first gaps open up on the general classification before the mountain heavy back end to the race. Cyclingnews will have daily live coverage start to finish of each of the eight stages.

Trek-Segafredo for the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine: Alberto Contador, Andre Cardoso, Edward Theuns, Fumiyuki Beppu, Haimer Zubeldia, Jesus Hernandez, Markel Irizar, and Michael Gogl. 

(Haimer Zubeldia)

(Michael Gogl.)

(Jesus Hernandez)

Rebisco PSL Manila settles for 8th place after winless campaign


UST-KAMENOGORSK, Kazakhstan — Rebisco PSL-Manila came up with a lethargic performance against a vibrant Vietin Bank of Vietnam to yield a 25-13, 25-18, 25-15 loss Wednesday in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championships here.

The Philippine club wound up eighth and last in the tough field having lost all its six games in a telling development for a squad that would make up the national team.

A heavy evaluation is expected to happen when the team goes back to Manila as the 13 of the 14 players here are included in the 18-player national pool being groomed for the Asian Seniors and Southeast Asian Games in August.

Rebisco PSL Manila, backed by Asics, Grand Sport and Turkish Airlines, managed to come up with a respectable performances against eventual finalists Supreme of Thailand and Hisamitsu Springs.

But against a youthful Vietnam club, the Filipino players were simply shellshocked and appeared disjointed despite having some of the finest club players in the country.

“It’s a defeat. We take it. We go back to the drawing board and study where we go wrong,” said head coach Francis Vicente who are assisted by Brian Esquibel, Ronald Dulay and Manny Calipes.

Jaja Santiago topscored with 10 points but was mostly stymied by Vietin’s solid net defense. Aby Marano and Rachel Daquis added seven each, while Jovelyn Gonzaga chipped in five.

But they were never in control — aside from the brief juncture where they held a 10-5 lead in the second — as the Filipino couldn’t shield against the torrid attacks of Pham Thi Jim Hue and Doan Thi Xuan who led Vietnam with 16 and 12 points.

Vietnam is silver medalist in the SEA Games and the two games against them are seen as most vital gauge in preparing for the PH squad. Vietin also bested Rebisco in the groups stage (25-21, 17-25, 25-20, 25-14).

Kim Fajardo had 44 excellent sets and three points, the same output of Maika Ortiz. Mika Reyes and Bia General scored one each. Also comprising the team are Gen Casugod, Aiza Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, Lourdes Clemente and Denden Lazaro.

Tour de France 2017 stage maps and profiles revealed

Complete routes and profiles for all 21 stages of the upcoming Grande Boucle.



The 2017 Tour de France is just over a month away, and the ASO has revealed the routes and profiles for all 21 stages as the Grand Départ approaches. From the start in Düsseldorf through Belgium and Luxembourg to France, the 104th edition of the sport's main event will pit the peloton against an intriguing array of challenges, with a particular focus on a few steep ascents, across several distinct parts of France and its neighbours.

Defending champion Chris Froome and challengers Nairo QuintanaRichie Porte and Alberto Contador will find themselves on a route that may skew slightly towards the climbers but with a generally balanced feel. The time trial mileage is limited, but so are the mammoth uphill slogs.

Race director Christian Prudhomme noted late last year that he wanted a less predictable Tour de France. To that end, the 2017 Tour will spread its GC-defining days across all three weeks, with fewer climbs in total than in 2016 but several especially steep mountain gradients that will force riders to rely more on their own legs than the comfort of a teammate's slipstream.

A short opening time trial in Düsseldorf, marking the race's first foray onto German soil in three decades, will set the tone on the overall leaderboard early, though without much likelihood of serious time gaps. The stage hunters will come to the fore over the next few days as the Tour works its way south through Belgium and Luxembourg before the first true mountain stage to La Planche des Belles Filles on the fifth day of the race. The site of Chris Froome's first ever Tour stage win in 2012, where Vincenzo Nibali took hold of the yellow jersey in a victorious 2014 campaign, the relatively short but quite steep climb is sure to have a big impact on the race.

Two more mountain stages before the first rest day – a stage 8 with a late first-category climb and a stage 9 pairing the Grand Colombier with a late hors-categorie climb – are sure to delight the many fans who don't like waiting until late in the third week for GC action.




Stage 12 looks to be the next key challenge as the Tour heads to the Pyrenees. A long one at 214 kilometres, it features five categorised climbs and closes out with a fantastic trio of challenging ascents: the HC-rated Port de Balès, the Cat. 1 Peyresourde and a short but steep second-category finish to Peyragudes for good measure. A stage 13 with three first-category climbs will follow to keep the yellow jersey hopefuls on their toes.

The final week presents a pair of mountainous days on stage 17 and 18 as the final climber's test of the race. The former features the Croix de Fer and the Galibier among its four categorised climbs before a long but speedy descent to the finish. The latter finishes atop the Col d'Izoard which starts out gently before kicking up to sections of nine and 10 per cent.

The 20th stage offers one last GC challenge – an individual time trial in Marseille. Flat for the first 14 kilometres and the last five, the course features a viciously steep climb crested at 15.6 kilometres, an unusual feature for the discipline. At 22.5 kilometres in full, it's not an especially long race against the clock. Considering the topography of the Tour as a whole, however, things could still be close on the penultimate stage, and the TT could make all the difference in the battle to bring yellow onto the Champs-Élysées the following day.

2017 Tour de France route:

  • Stage 1 - July 01, 2017: Düsseldorf - Düsseldorf, 14km
  • Stage 2 - July 02, 2017: Düsseldorf - Liège, 206km
  • Stage 3 - July 03, 2017: Verviers - Longwy, 202km
  • Stage 4 - July 04, 2017: Mondotf-les-Bains - Vittel, 203km
  • Stage 5 - July 05, 2017: Vittel - La Planche de Belles Filles, 160km
  • Stage 6 - July 06, 2017: Visoul - Troyes, 216km
  • Stage 7 - July 07, 2017: Troyes - Nuits-Saint-Georges, 214km
  • Stage 8 - July 08, 2017: Dole - Sation des Rousses, 187km
  • Stage 9 - July 09, 2017: Nantua - Chambery, 181km
  • Rest day 1 July 10, 2017 Dordogne - Dordogne
  • Stage 10 - July 11, 2017: Perigueux - Bergerac, 178km
  • Stage 11 - July 12, 2017: Eymet - Pau, 202km
  • Stage 12 - July 13, 2017: Pau - Peryagudes, 214km
  • Stage 13 - July 14, 2017: Saint Girons - Foix, 100km
  • Stage 14 - July 15, 2017: Blagnac - Rodez, 181km
  • Stage 15 - July 16, 2017: Laissac-Severac 'Eglise - Le Puy-en-Velay, 189km
  • Rest day 2 July 17, 2017 Le Puy-en-Velay - Le Puy-en-Velay
  • Stage 16 - July 18, 2017: Le Puy-en-Velay - Romans sur Isere, 165km
  • Stage 17 - July 19, 2017: Le Murre - Serre Chavalier, 183km
  • Stage 18 - July 20, 2017: Briancon - Izoard, 178km
  • Stage 19 - July 21, 2017: Embrun - Salon de Provence, 220km
  • Stage 20 - July 22, 2017: Marseille - Marseille (ITT), 23km
  • Stage 21 - July 23, 2017: Montgeron - Paris, 105km

McGregor vs Pacquiao?

by Nick Giongco/Manila Bulletin

PACQUIAO: ‘Age is just a number.’ (Manila Bulletin)

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao can fill in for Floyd Mayweather in case the brash American fighter opts not to proceed with a crossover showdown with mixed-martial arts star Connor McGregor, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said yesterday.

But Roach, who has trained Pacquiao since 2001, insists that the fight will have to be fought in a boxing ring as the duo gets ready for Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia.

“Not in an octagon and boxing gloves will have to be used and boxing rules will be enforced,” Roach said during the PSA Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel.

“Manny is not trained in the ground game and wrestling although he loves to imitate Bruce Lee. But he is not a UFC fighter. He is a pure boxer,” said Roach when asked about the possibility of seeing Pacquiao slug it out with McGregor.

For a fight to happen, “it has to be a boxing match,” said the 57-year-old Roach.

There have been talks that Mayweather will go for an unprecedented win No. 50 against McGregor and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has also made it known that the Filipino eight-division champ can step up to the plate.

Talks about a McGregor fight swirled even as Pacquiao and Roach welcomed the arrival of a new sparmate from Mexico: Adrian Young.

Roach immediately put the 24-year-old Young to the test and did three rounds with Pacquiao, whom Roach, swears was getting better following his lackadaisical showing exactly a week ago.

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