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Verzosa lifts Lady Bombers

At least this is a good start as we build towards that goal.

Bea Micaller

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DOLLY Verzosa powers Jose Rizal University to a nail-biting win over San Sebastian College. DAVID JOHN CUBANGBANG @tribunephl_dvd

Dolly Verzosa delivered an all-around performance to power Jose Rizal University (JRU) to a thrilling 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21,15-8 win over San Sebastian College in Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association women’s volleyball tournament yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Verzosa was on fire as the Lady Bombers hung tight down the stretch to help the Lady Bombers kick off their campaign on a sizzling note.

She finished with 16 attacks, three aces and two blocks for a 21-point effort lace with 20 digs.

Still, JRU head coach Mia Tioseco stressed that they remain a work in progress.

“We still have a lot to improve, especially our communication inside the court,” said Tioseco, whose wards finished their campaign with a 4-5 win-loss card last year.

“We’re hoping to make it to the finals this time. At least this is a good start as we build towards that goal.”

Verzosa, a third-year spiker, took charge in the deciding set as she carried the Lady Bombers to a 4-1 lead.

Reyann Cañete tried to rally the Lady Stags, but Verzosa ran wild, delivering the crucial blows that sealed the victory.

“This is just the start of the season and we still have a lot of assignments to do,” said Tioseco, whose team has been clobbering San Sebastian in the elimination round for three consecutive years.

Shannai Requierme notched 17 points and 18 digs while opposite spiker Jamille Carreon drilled 14 markers for the Lady Stags, who are being handled by a new coach in Norvie Labuga.

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Banned Geisler cries for justice

Ian Suyu

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Former Olympian Donnie Geisler expressed frustration over his expulsion from the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA).

Geisler, who represented the country in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, tagged his expulsion from the federation as an unexpected and unfortunate decision.

He said all accusations hurled at him by federation officials were baseless and was just meant to stop him from pursuing his business and passion in teaching the sport.

“From the looks of it, these are all baseless and intended to create leverage against me,” said Geisler in a statement that came a day after the PTA announced that he had been declared as persona non-grata.

“The truth is on my side and I will continue with this uphill battle until such time that discriminatory actions are stopped and justice is served.”

The feud between Geisler and the federation that gave him a break during his playing days had been simmering for the past couple of months.

It started when Geisler invited national athletes Samuel Morrison and Arven Tolentino to conduct online training in his Donnie Geisler Taekwondo Training Center without seeking permission from the PTA.

It didn’t sit well with the federation as it slapped Morrison and Tolentino with suspension while banning other national team members from doing business with him.

Geisler filed a case in the Philippine Competition Commission last May, saying that what the federation’s decision was discriminatory and anti-competitive against him.

Two months later, he filed a pair of legal case, this time libel and cyber libel allegations against PTA secretary general Rocky Samson.

Last Monday, the PTA formally cut its ties with its former golden boy as Manolo Gabriel, the PTA sanction committee chairman, announced that they have declared Geisler persona non-grata and stripped him of his rights and privileges as member of the federation.

“We still want to get to the bottom of this issue, we know that there’s truth that must be heard coming from my side,” Geisler said.

“Now, we are doing our moves. We are going to answer this soon. I’m sure this will not end here. A lot of things will be coming along the way.”

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Golf

3 Baguio golf courses announce temporary closure

Aldwin Quitasol

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(Photo courtesy of Club John Hay Golf Club Facebook page)

BAGUIO CITY — Golfers will need to wait a little longer before teeing off in Baguio City.

Three golf courses have announced temporary closure after some of their personnel and a guest tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Pinewoods Golf and Country Club closed its courses after one of its guests who played over the weekend tested positive.

Baguio Country Club (BCC), meanwhile, advised its members of the course’s indefinite closure.

The BCC management announced that one of the club’s caddies made close contact to a person who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in their barangay.

“We assure everyone that contact tracing and proper health and safety protocols including disinfection and sanitation are already being implemented, as it is always our priority to protect our valued members, guests and employees,” the BCC announcement stated.

Camp John Hay shared that two of its caddies tested positive for COVID-19.

“Camp John Hay Golf Club will be closed until further notice to conduct contact tracing, continued disinfecting, and other appropriate activities,” Camp John Hay announced to its members through Viber.

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Tolentino announces candidacy for POC president

Nick Giongco

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Incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino will be gunning for a fresh four-year term with a powerhouse ticket in the POC elections on 27 November.

Speaking in the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, Tolentino declared that Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio and Philippine Fencing Association chief Richard Gomez have decided to join forces with him.

Panlilio will run as 1st vice president while Gomez will seek the 2nd vice president post, according to Tolentino, who likewise formally declared his intention to seek a four-year term.

Panlilio’s main backer is tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, who supports various sports like boxing, weightlifting, gymnastics, badminton, football, taekwondo, golf, cycling, skateboarding and a few more.

Tolentino assumed the POC presidency only in July last year to use the unfinished term of boxing boss Ricky Vargas, who was forced to step down.

“My ticket is almost complete,” Tolentino, also a Tagaytay congressman said during the weekly forum backed by San Miguel Corporation, Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, stressing that he will reveal the complete roster next week.

The other elective posts are those of chairman, treasurer, auditor and members of the board while the position of secretary general will be done by appointment.

“I will definitely run for president. I just filled up the gap when Vargas resigned,” Tolentino said. “We are all free to run and aspire for the (POC) presidency.”

Set to challenge Tolentino for the presidency is World Archery Philippines president and renowned tax lawyer Clint Aranas, who enjoys the support of the majority in the POC executive council.

There will be over 50 voting members that will take part in an election that will take place in a soon-to-be-named venue and Tolentino said those attending will have to undergo swab testing in line with government safety protocols.

Former International Olympic Committee representative to the country Frank Elizalde, lawyer Teddy Kalaw and Cong. Eric Martinez, the chairman of the House youth and sports committee, will draft the guidelines after being tapped as members of the elections committee.

They will present the election rules before the general assembly on 30 September while the filing of certificate of candidacy starts on 1 October.

Meanwhile, Tolentino believes athletes from 19 national sports associations are expected to return to training camp not later than November.

“By October, perhaps, we would already be on modified general community quarantine and they will be allowed to train again.”

Tolentino made it clear, though, that only athletes eyeing to compete in Tokyo Olympic qualifying events will be given the green light to train again.

“Let us prioritize those NSAs that are getting ready for the Olympic qualifying (tournaments).”

Tolentino admits that the delay in the decision to revert to training mode was due to “safety concerns.”

The facilities are being used as COVID-19 treatment centers, said Tolentino, referring to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and Philsports in Pasig as prime examples.

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Hoops

This is our job so we really have to do it — Tenorio on PBA bubble

Bea Micaller

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(Photo: Rio Deluvio)

LA Tenorio is getting anxious over the possibility of leaving his family to enter the bubble in the resumption of the 45th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) on 9 October.

Tenorio, the peppery playmaker of Barangay Ginebra, has yet to miss a single game since getting drafted in 2006, but the PBA bubble inside the Clark Freeport Zone could give him trouble.

“In the earlier part of the bubble discussion, I was excited because after six months, I can finally play basketball,” said Tenorio in the latest episode of The Athletes’ Tribune late Monday.

“But as discussion furthers, I was experiencing anxiety knowing that I will be gone for almost three months.”

Holding the league inside an isolated area is the most effective and safest way to restart the PBA season.

The games would be held at the Angeles University Foundation while the players would be housed at Quest Hotel for more than two months starting 27 September until mid-December if their respective advance all the way to the best-of-seven finals.

Tenorio’s college teammate, Larry Fonacier of NLEX, was the first to opt out of the bubble.

Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao said they decided to excuse Fonacier since his wife has some health issues.

“Yes, we excused him. His wife has health issues,” Guiao said in a statement Monday.

“The team and management understand his situation. Family is always a priority.”

Tenorio appears to be on the same boat.

After all, his wife – Chesca – had just given birth to their first daughter and she and their three sons need him in this time of pandemic.

Still, his family understands his situation.

“I think it will really be hard because I will be away from them for months. But I already talked to my family and they understand the situation,” he said, admitting that there are some reservations on his mind.

“Honestly, I am thinking twice, but I think I really have to do this (not only) for the team but also as a professional basketball player.”

“This is our job so we really have to do it.”

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Ex-Fighting Maroon netted in drug sting

Kristina Maralit

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Former University of the Philippines varsity mainstay Kevin Rae Astorga was among those collared by anti-drug operatives in a buy-bust operation in BF Homes, Parañaque City past midnight on Tuesday.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents led by team head Jill Salamanca conducted the drug sting at the JEMP Building in the said locality following months of surveillance.

Arrested with Astorga were Agustin Montejo, Jerico Dumagan, Karen Salvajan, and Mico Mojares.

Seized from their possession were 150 grams of Kush, or high-grade marijuana, and several self-sealing plastic sachets containing cocaine, two mobile phones, and the P150,000 marked money used by the PDEA agent who acted as a poseur-buyer.

The estimated value of the confiscated narcotics is still being verified based on the “standard price of Kush”.

Initial reports yielded that Astorga, who last played for the UP Fighting Maroons in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) in the 2009-2010 season, was having a pot session to celebrate his birthday when the raid happened.

A Daily Tribune source at the PDEA said Astorga, who was also team captain of the 2004 SEABA U-18 team, was the one operating the drug den and would occasionally hold private parties for his clientele.

Authorities are now conducting follow up operations to determine Astorga’s sources of the contraband and his other accomplices.

PDEA will also be looking into the possibility of former and active varsity players being on Astorga’s client list.

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NBA legend Michael Jordan buys NASCAR team

Agence France-Presse

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His Royal Airness is now a NASCAR franchise owner.

Basketball icon Michael Jordan announced Monday he has purchased a NASCAR Cup series charter team and recruited trailblazing black driver Bubba Wallace to race for the new outfit next season.

Jordan, widely regarded to be the greatest player in NBA history with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, will be the majority owner in the new franchise with veteran racer Denny Hamlin as minority partner.

“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” the six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls said in a statement.

“The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us is very exciting for me,” added the five-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

Jordan, who also owns the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, said he hoped his ownership could bring new audiences to the white-dominated world of NASCAR and boost involvement of minorities.

“Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few black owners,” Jordan said.

“The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for black people in racing.”

Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR, will spearhead the team behind the wheel. The 26-year-old had confirmed earlier this month that he would not race again for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Wallace has spoken out against racism repeatedly this year in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, and in June called on NASCAR chiefs to ban the Confederate flag from racetracks used on the circuit.

The flag has long been a staple at NASCAR tracks in the sport’s southern US heartlands, but it remains a symbol of slavery and racism for many. NASCAR later banned displays of the flag at its races.

Wallace was involved in controversy in June, after his team reported that a noose had been found hanging in the team garage at Talladega Superspeedway.

A subsequent investigation by the FBI determined Wallace had not been the victim of a hate crime and that the noose was a pull-down rope on a garage door that had been there since 2019.

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Heavyweights near crown

Agence France-Presse

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Novak Djokovic slams his way to the finals. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep both advanced to the finals of the Italian Open on Sunday as fans returned to the stands at the Foro Italico for the first time.

World number one Djokovic beat Norway’s Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 and will play Argentine Diego Schwartzman for his fifth Rome title.

Top women’s seed Simona Halep reached a third final where she faces defending champion Karolina Pliskova for a trophy the Romanian narrowly missed out on in 2017 and 2018.

Djokovic had been on a collision course for another final showdown with Nadal a week before the French Open at Roland Garros.

But Schwartzman eliminated the nine-time Rome winner in the quarterfinals, and booked his ticket to the final with a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win over Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

“Of course, you know, with Nadal in the finals and without Nadal in the finals makes a big difference,” said Djokovic, who has played five of his nine finals against Nadal in Rome.

“So it’s going to be strange not facing him, but at the same time, I won’t underestimate anybody that steps on the court against me tomorrow.”

The Serb can win a record 36th Masters title on Monday. He is currently tied on 35 with Nadal.

Of his four titles in Rome his last was in 2015, with three lost finals in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

World No. 2 Halep ousted Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to meet second seed Pliskova who eased past fellow Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 6-4.

“Thank God I don’t play (Elina) Svitolina, because I lost two times against her,” joked Halep of the Ukrainian she twice fell to in the final.

Wimbledon champion Halep held off a fightback from her Spanish rival.

After pulling level at a set all, the ninth seed slumped to 5-1 down in the third, before pulling out a string of winners to draw the match back to 4-5.

Serving to stay in the match, though, she hit successive double faults to hand Halep victory.

Halep extended her winning streak this season to 13 consecutive victories, with her last defeat coming against Muguruza in the Australian Open.

She won the Dubai title in February, before the coronavirus lockdown, coming back to claim victory in Prague last month having skipped the US Open.

Italy’s government from Sunday allowed up to 1,000 spectators at open-air sports events for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.

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Pogacar, 21, bags Tour plum

Agence France-Presse

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Tadej Pogacar savors his Tour de France victory. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARIS, France (AFP) — Slovenian rookie Tadej Pogacar won the Tour de France on Sunday, riding triumphantly into Paris in the race leader’s yellow jersey at just 21 years old.

Pogacar became the Tour’s youngest champion since 1904 as Ireland’s Sam Bennett won the 21st and final stage after the eight-lap dash around the iconic Champs-Elysees to clinch the green sprint points jersey.

The champion mounted the podium as the sun set behind the Arc de Triomphe to pick up the best climber’s jersey, the white top young rider’s prize and finally the Tour winner’s famous yellow jersey.

“I can’t find the words to thank everyone, but it’s been amazing this three weeks where the fans cheered me all the way,” Pogacar said.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo stood alongside Slovenian President Borut Pahor while Pogacar unfurled his national flag and draped it over his shoulders.

Long-time race leader Primoz Roglic ended second while Australia’s Richie Porte came third.

Pogacar’s UAE Emirates team pocketed 623,930 euros ($738,798) thanks to his victory.

Dressed in green, Bennett lifted his bike aloft after the race, which provided his second stage win.

“It was so hard but it was all worth it, I still can’t believe it,” said the big sprinter after edging seven-time winner Peter Sagan to the green jersey.

The Tour will forever be remembered for a dramatic last-gasp turnaround as Pogacar grabbed the overall lead when his rival Roglic suffered a mountainside meltdown on the penultimate day.

This storied edition of the century-old race packed with thrills and spills will be equally recalled for outsprinting the dark shadow of Covid-19.

Starting two months late due to the global pandemic, the race set off under strict health guidelines in Nice with doubts it would make it all the way to Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron is credited with giving the green light for a rescheduled event heavy in virus protocols to go ahead.

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DeChambeau muscles to victory

Agence France-Presse

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Bryson DeChambeau celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the 120th US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club . JAMIE SQUIRE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK (AFP) — Bryson DeChambeau captured his first major golf title, firing a three-under par 67 to win the 120th US Open and humble a relentless Winged Foot layout.

The 27-year-old American, known for his scientific approach to golf and a bulked-up driving dominance, eagled the par-5 ninth from just inside 40 feet and rolled to a six-stroke victory over 21-year-old countryman Matthew Wolff.

DeChambeau hit only 23 fairways for the week but finished 72 holes on six-under par 274 thanks to Sunday’s only sub-par round at the formidable Mamaroneck, New York, layout.

DeChambeau became the first player since 1955 to win with the only sub-par score in the final round, and just the fourth ever to do it, completing a dominating performance.

Typical deep US Open rough could not stop DeChambeau, whose exercise and protein shakes delivered powerful drives while his calculations and precise readings produced solid shotmaking on a layout that crushed rivals.

South African Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner, was a distant third on 282, one stroke ahead of American Harris English after both fired 73 Sunday.

American Xander Schauffele, still seeking his first major title, shot 74 and settled for fifth on 284, his fourth top 6 finish in four US Open starts.

Wolff led last-duo partner DeChambeau by two strokes when the day began but failed to become the youngest US Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923 and youngest major winner since Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters.

Wolff, coming off a share of fourth last month in his major debut at the PGA Championship, could not duplicate the feat of 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet in 2013 by winning in his US Open debut.

DeChambeau, who spent a three-month coronavirus pandemic layoff building his physique, uses same-length clubs and a chart book for judging putts, bringing some slow-play complaints but also six prior PGA Tour victories.

Ninth-ranked DeChambeau won in July at Detroit and shared fourth at last month’s PGA, his best major finish until Sunday.

The coronavirus pandemic postponed the US Open from June and led to a spectator ban, although some fans cheered from beyond boundary fences.

Spending more than an hour on the practice tee Saturday night after all other players had departed, DeChambeau put in work on his drives that paid off Sunday.

DeChambeau and Wolff exchanged impressive eagle putts at the 556-yard par-5 ninth, the easiest hole on a course that averaged 75 Sunday.

DeChambeau drove into the fairway, pitched just inside 40 feet and curled in his eagle putt to reach 5-under. Moments later, Wolff knocked in a 10-footer to stay one shot back.

Wolff stumbled with a bogey at the par-3 10th, missing a par putt from just inside 10 feet, two adrift and the only challenger within five shots.

When DeChambeau rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-4 11th to stand 6-under and three ahead — also 3-under on the day’s only sub-par round — the scientist appeared to have finally found a major-winning formula.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson shot 70 to share sixth with US compatriot Will Zalatoris on 285, never managing a sub-par round.

“Tough golf course,” Johnson said. “I gave myself enough chances, but I just didn’t putt well enough.”

Third-ranked American Justin Thomas finished on 286 to share eighth in a pack with fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy, a four-time major winner who closed with a 75.

“It was really difficult. Wind was up again,” McIlroy said.

“Looks like everyone found it pretty tough out there. Just a tough day.”

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