“It was really hard. You can never get an easy win in this league,” Isaac said. “We thought that we would have an easy ending (to the game) going into the last six minutes when Alaska made a charge.”The Aces rallied from deficits of as large as 11 points in the fourth and had a chance to sew it all up in regulation only for Simon Enciso to miss an open triple from right quarter court at the buzzer which would have shattered a 91-all tie.LeDontae Henton scored 31 points to pace the Aces, but he missed two straight shots after that DiGregorio triple to help doom Alaska.Gamalinda fired 15 points and had 11 rebounds with Erram contributing 13 and 13.The next Blackwater game will be against TNT KaTropa on Wednesday and Isaac is hoping to keep this streak going to creep closer to the next round. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games “We had the presence of mind, the character needed to survive those two overtimes,” Isaac said. “And Lady Luck also smiled at us in the end.”Henry Walker had a monster game, to say the least, finishing with 35 points and 32 rebounds as he continues to provide the Elite with the inspiration, leadership and firepower when they need it in the stretch.Only the pint-sized Mark Cruz failed to finish in twin digits in scoring from among Isaac’s starters, with Walker, the comebacking JP Erram and Bam-Bam Gamalinda completing double-doubles and shooting guard Mike DiGregorio finishing with 17 points.DiGregorio’s third triple with 63 seconds left was his biggest shot of the night as it ushered the Elite to a 107-106 lead they never lost as the Aces bungled several chances to turn the game around.It was an ending that looked far from happening as the Elite were playing with complete command until the final six minutes of regulation.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Gilas cadets dump host Malaysia Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program MOST READ LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LATEST STORIES SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief PBA IMAGESMore than the franchise record, Leo Isaac knows exactly what Blackwater’s third straight win in the PBA Governors’ Cup could be all about.“We will cherish this win, definitely,” Isaac said after his hard-fighting Elite went through the proverbial eye of the needle before repulsing Alaska, 111-106, in double overtime on Wednesday night that put Blackwater in serious playoff contention at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.ADVERTISEMENT “But I hope that it would push us more (to play harder) and elevate us to the next level,” he said as the Elite shoot to make it past the eliminations for just the second time in three seasons in the pros. “This win is special.”Blackwater won three consecutive games for the first time in its PBA existence and the team has never looked this good at any time, rising to 3-3 to be in the middle of the 12-team pack.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAlaska, on the other hand, has never looked this bad as the Aces’ woes continued with the franchise’s longest losing streak stretching to 13 games now counting the last eight games of the Commissioner’s Cup.And it was as if the Aces didn’t have any chances. They had several, actually. View comments
Serena may lack intimidation factor when she returns on tour, says Evert ADVT Above everything else, she aims to touch the youth with her talents. Valdez believes that children can learn more than being physically healthy from sports. With the ups and downs and constant learning from mistakes that comes with being involved in a team, kids can learn and put to heart being humble and respectful to the people around them.“More than being physically healthy, which everyone needs, it is important to be mentally and socially healthy as well by interacting and playing with other kids,” Valdez says, “They will learn a lot of the little things — saying thank you and sorry and a lot more.”Despite the very hectic schedule of a phenomenal athlete that goes around the world to compete and around the country to share her passion with children, Alyssa Valdez manages to stay healthy by making sure she eats right and takes FERN-C, the #1 Sodium Ascorbate non-acidic vitamin C in the Philippines, daily to get the daily vitamin boost she needs so that, in confidence, she can say “Tiwala Ako Na Kaya Ko!”Visit https://www.facebook.com/fernconline for more!ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Read Next MOST READ Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games And true enough, she is doing just that.What with the daily grind of an athlete in training for an international competition, you’d think that during her downtime she’d choose to get the relaxation she very well deserves.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutOn the contrary, she spends her spare time going around the country to give back to her fans who have supported her career.“During my off season I make sure to go around the country to meet all the aspiring volleyball players,” Valdez says, “It’s one way of giving back all the blessings and the learnings I’ve got and one way of reminding myself where I came from.” Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients LATEST STORIES Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City View comments When on the go Alyssa believes this: “I can do more than what I’m doing right now.”ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC
Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraq Anthony became one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history by playing mostly isolation ball, but coach Billy Donovan has asked him to become more of a catch-and-shoot scorer. It worked in this one — the 33-year-old forward made 10 of 15 shots overall and shot 4 of 6 on 3-pointers in one of his best performances of the season.“Once you accept something, regardless of what it is, you become comfortable with it,” he said. “I think you start putting your all into it and you start working on that role and on that acceptance and it’s becomes fun. I think right now, I accepted that role early in December and the game is starting to become fun again. Fun for me and fun for us as a team.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSteven Adams had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Russell Westbrook added 19 points and seven assists for the Thunder, who won their third straight. The Thunder shot 48 percent overall and outrebounded the Lakers 54-30.“They just big-boyed us,” rookie Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said. “Steven Adams, we couldn’t stop him from getting rebounds today. He was the head of the snake in that department.” The Lakers host the Pacers on Friday.The Thunder play at Cleveland on Saturday. Read Next Whiteside leads Heat to 106-101 win over Bucks Julius Randle scored all 16 of his points in the first half for the Lakers.The Thunder led 60-54 at halftime behind 16 points from Anthony and 14 from Adams. Westbrook had just two points until scoring eight in the final three minutes of the second quarter.Oklahoma City started strong in the second half. A 3-pointer by George bumped the lead to 11, and a 3-point play by Westbrook midway through the quarter pushed the margin to 14.Westbrook got Corey Brewer off balance with multiple crossover dribbles before blowing by him for a layup that gave the Thunder an 86-70 lead. A 3-pointer by Anthony made it 91-70 and forced the Lakers to call timeout late in the third quarter. The Thunder controlled the game the rest of the way.“They just hit shots,” Kuzma said. “We didn’t really defend them too well. They’ve got a lot of good players.”TIP-INSLakers: F Brandon Ingram returned after missing a game with a mild left ankle sprain. He had eight points in 26 minutes. … Shot 55 percent from the field in the first half, but just 47 percent in the game. … Caldwell-Pope scored 10 points in 15 minutes. He was one of two Lakers to score in double figures.Thunder: Boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather attended the game. … G Andre Roberson returned after missing eight games with left patellar tendinitis. He finished with four points and three steals in 17 minutes.STAT LINESThe Thunder committed just one turnover in the third quarter and outrebounded the Lakers 16-7. Oklahoma City took six more shots than Los Angeles in the period and outscored the Lakers 33-18.QUOTABLEGeorge, on Oklahoma City’s defense: “It always comes down to defense. We got stops. We turned those stops into baskets. When we are scoring, it slows the other team down.”UP NEXT LATEST STORIES Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, reaches for the ball held by Los Angeles Lakers guard Tyler Ennis, right, in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY — Carmelo Anthony is getting comfortable in his new role.He scored 27 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Los Angeles Lakers 114-90 on Wednesday night.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball sat out his second straight game with a sore left knee. The Lakers are 0-8 when he doesn’t play, and they have scored fewer than 100 points in six of those games.The injury news got worse for the Lakers. Kuzma left with a finger joint sprain and did not return, and forward Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left with a right Achilles tendon strain and did not return.“Just play as a team defensively, just be solid,” Kuzma said. “There’s got to be a lot of team basketball.”Seven of Adams’ rebounds were on the offensive end. The Thunder have gotten used to him bailing them out.“We can take any shot that we want because he will go get it,” Thunder forward Paul George said. “We feel that. Russ feels that, Melo feels that. It puts us in a better rhythm knowing there is a guy that, whether it is a good or bad shot that we take, it’s possible to get an offensive basket anyways by Steven. It allows us to be more aggressive. There is not many guys that physically can match him. He is in a category of his own.”ADVERTISEMENT Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues View comments MOST READ
Pistons: Host the Miami Heat on Saturday night in the third game of a six-game homestand. View comments John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ AFP official booed out of forum LATEST STORIES Griffin’s first points came when he powered to the basket and made a shot off the glass. He lobbed a nice alley-oop to All-Star Andre Drummond in the second quarter, although that duo didn’t look totally in rhythm together. Drummond had 14 points and 15 rebounds but sat out some of the crucial possessions late.DISPARITYGrizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff received a technical foul early in the fourth quarter and wasn’t thrilled about the difference in free throws. Memphis went 14 of 14, but Detroit was 27 of 37.“The free throws are the bottom line — 37-14. No one can overcome that,” Bickerstaff said. “Our guys compete too hard to be put in this situation every night. We’ve asked the league for help. Maybe someone can sit down with us and tell us what we’re doing wrong.”SMALLER STAFFVan Gundy said before the game that only two of his seven assistant coaches would be on the bench with him. Tim Hardaway had a funeral to attend, and four others were sick.“If anybody wants to sit on the bench with me tonight, we have plenty of room,” Van Gundy said. “That flu is no joke.”ANOTHER DEBUTDetroit received two other players in the trade with the Clippers. Brice Johnson did not play Thursday, but Willie Reed did, picking up three fouls in just 5:22.TIP-INSGrizzlies: Evans was not with the team and missed a second straight game amid trade speculation about his future. Conley has a left heel injury. … Gasol had 19 points and 14 rebounds. … Memphis dropped to 3-8 on the second night of back-to-backs.Pistons: Griffin was the first player with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a debut with the Pistons since Grant Hill (25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) in 1994.UP NEXTGrizzlies: Visit the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. Portland’s CJ McCollum joins the 50-point club Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Anthony Tolliver’s 3-pointer with 1:49 remaining gave Detroit a 101-100 lead, and the score stayed that way until the final seconds. Marc Gasol attempted to drive on Griffin but missed his shot, and a wild scramble led to a jump ball between Tolliver and Dillon Brooks with 10.4 seconds left.The Pistons controlled that tip, with Reggie Bullock running the ball down in the corner. Tolliver gave Detroit a three-point lead with a pair of free throws, and then purposely fouled Wayne Selden with 2.6 seconds remaining. Selden made the first free throw and the second went in even though he was trying to miss and give his team a chance at an offensive rebound.Bullock made it 104-102 when he made the second of two free throws with 2 seconds left. The Grizzlies were out of timeouts, and after Gasol caught the ensuing inbound pass near midcourt, his long attempt at the buzzer wasn’t close.“We can’t say that our goal is to give ourselves a chance to win, the goal has to be to win,” Gasol said. “We have to go out and grab these games when we have the chance.”Griffin was the first Detroit starter announced before the game and received a big hand from the crowd. The arena still didn’t appear full — the Pistons have struggled with attendance for several years — but the atmosphere was lively, especially during the tight finish.ADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23) is defended by Memphis Grizzlies guard Wayne Selden while going to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)DETROIT — Blake Griffin was Detroit’s best player in his debut with the Pistons.Griffin had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and although his new team is still very much a work in progress, the Pistons edged the Memphis Grizzlies 104-102 on Thursday night.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Detroit traded for Griffin earlier in the week. The Pistons haven’t had much time to work with him, but they were clearly a better team when he played against the Grizzlies.“We were plus-23 with him on the floor in 35 minutes, so we were fairly dominant in that time,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I don’t know why we haven’t gotten to all this in the hour and 15 minutes we’ve had together, but we’ve really got to get our spacing down and understand where we want people to be.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutT-Shirts welcoming Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin cover the seats at Little Caesars Arena before an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)Griffin’s teammates looked uncertain at times, but Detroit was able to outlast a Memphis team that is without Tyreke Evans and Mike Conley.“I wanted to just come out and play hard, being very limited in my knowledge of our offense,” Griffin said. “I thought coach Van Gundy did a great job of just putting in five things that we could go to, and we ran them to death, but they worked and everybody just played hard.”
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire What ‘missteps’? Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ The national team stalwart amassed 35 points to dominate the match as the Tornadoes plucked their second straight win in as many games and hand the Lifesavers their first loss in two starts.Santiago had 30 attack points, two blocks and three aces for Foton, which was still trying to adjust to one another after a major offseason revamp.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Lifesavers snatched the third set on a spike by former Foton gunner Angeli Araneta.“We relaxed in the third set and lost our service receives,” said Santiago. “But in the fourth, we brought our service game back.” WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Ravena relishes chance to join SEAG-bound Gilas roster LATEST STORIES Jaja Santiago. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOThere’s no stopping Jaja Santiago Saturday night.The talented, 6-foot-5 utility hitter led Foton to a 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-15 victory over Generika-Ayala in the Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.ADVERTISEMENT Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments
After a disastrous One-day International series against Bangladesh, New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori considers the series against Team India to be the toughest challenge for his team.New Zealand were mauled 0-4 by Bangladesh in a recent ODI series which attracted criticism from their coach Mark Greatbatch who claimed that some of the players in the team were not good enough to play international cricket.”India is number one for a reason. They will be looking for a comprehensive win. It is up to us to maintain our standards because that’s the only way we can compete with India,” Vettori said in Ahmedabad on Monday.He said the Bangladesh debacle was the lowest his team could ever go. “We have identified the problems and have improved on them.There is a World Cup in a few months’ time. We understand how we need to get back, but to understand the problem and solving it is a difficult thing.”We are trying to improve our rankings in the Test cricket and trying to improve as a team. We want to start off with a mindset of getting draws. I want to take it from there and go forward,” he said.Meanwhile, in a stand quite different to the one adopted by the Indian cricket board, Vettori and coach Mark Greatbatch have favoured the use of Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS), saying it was good for the game.”I like the referral system. There are still a few hiccups with the technology, but I think it is good for the game if it is used consistently,” Vettori said.advertisementEchoing Vettori’s thoughts, Greatbatch said: “Though the referral system would require to be perfected, it is a positive thing for the game,” he said.The BCCI has consistently opposed the introduction of UDRS in bilateral series after the team got the rough end of the referrals in Sri Lanka in 2008.Indian Team arriveThe Indian cricket team arrived in Ahmedabad on Monday for their first match of the three-Test series against New Zealand, starting on Thursday at the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera.Cricket fans in the United States would now be able to watch India-New Zealand series ‘live’, following a deal between Nimbus Communications and US-based cable services provider Comcast Corporation.The launch of 24-hour Neo Cricket channel in the US will enable Comcast customers to watch all international and domestic cricket matches played in India live. The 2010-11 Ranji Trophy will also be available on the channel.- With inputs from Agencies
Roger Federer set up a titanic final showdown with Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Saturday.Federer swept aside third seed Djokovic in emphatic fashion as the world number two produced his fourth successive straight sets victory at the end-of-year event at London’s O2 Arena.The Swiss star will try to land a fifth Tour Finals title on Sunday and, in the process, gain a measure of revenge over Nadal, who has been the sport’s dominant force at his expense this year.Nadal, who defeated Andy Murray in a three-set thriller earlier on Saturday, has already taken the Wimbledon and French Open titles from Federer this year, as well as stealing the number one ranking from him.Among their 21 career meetings there have been some incredible encounters, including the 2008 Wimbledon final won by Nadal. This is just their second match this year and it is the perfect way to finish the ATP season. Federer said: “It’s been a great tournament so far, having not lost a set and beaten so many good players. Today was another great match. I’m really looking forward to playing against Rafa tomorrow. Who wouldn’t?He’s a wonderful player. He’s proven himself that he can play on any surface now. The ones who still call him a clay court expert, they still don’t know much about tennis. I’ll try to take it to him, play aggressive, attack his second serve and see how it goes.”advertisementAfter holding serve to love, the Swiss won four successive points from 40-15 to break Djokovic. The last of those was a gift, a double fault from the third seed, who was battling just to get a foothold in the match. The sixth game brought four more break points for Federer. Djokovic dug deep to pull it back from 0-40 but a stunning Federer winner set up another chance, and this time the Serb netted a volley.Five points later the set was over, with Djokovic surely wondering what he could do to stop Federer in this form. The Serb could at least draw on recent memories of a superb fightback against the 16-time Grand Slam champion, when he saved two match points to triumph in the semi-finals of the US Open.BHUPAHI-MIRNYI IN FINALIndia’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi of Belarus cruised past Polish duo Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the year-end doubles title clash in the ATP World Tour Finals.Third seeds Bhupathi and Mirnyi will face second seeds Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, the 2008 winners, who saved a match point to beat three- time former champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6- 3, 3- 6, 12- 10 in 71 minutes encounter on Saturday.Bhupathi and Mirnyi are chasing their second title of the season, having triumphed two weeks ago at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris- Bercy.They are through to the championship match at the season finale for the first time after failing to advance past the group stages on their previous two appearances in 2003 and 2004.The third seeds started brightly and broke through in the seventh game courtesy a forehand volley error by Fyrstenberg, before Mirnyi went on to seal the set with a service hold in the 10th game.The Poles were under pressure right from the start of the second set, with Matkowski forced to save three break points in the first game. Their resistance crumbled in the third game, though, as Fyrstenberg’s serve was broken and Bhupathi and Mirnyi established a 3- 1 lead.It is the fourth win in four meetings this season for Bhupathi and Mirnyi over their Polish opponents.
Connect with the EditorWhat a year went by – scams, corruption – monetary and ethical – political harakiri, an air crash, rail accidents, natural disasters, rising prices and what not. But before we write off 2010 as a non-happening, disgusting and gloomy year for India, let’s look at how “Bharat” fared this year.It was a time of awakening for the hinterland – Bihar, to be precise. Did anyone ever imagine that people of this backward and written off state would exercise their democratic rights in a manner that defines the very essence of development and progress? That a state so divided in terms of caste, creed, birth, bigotry and bias, would rise up in arms against all those who have forced on this landmass a series of regression. That the people of Bihar would appreciate the fruits of development and give expression to their desire to be one with modern ‘India’. This is no mean feat for a state so seeped in corruption, underdevelopment and chaos.”Bharat” did really move India in 2010. Or else can one explain how the Indian contingent performed so well in both the Commonwealth Games and in the Asian Games. It was the determined talent from the small towns of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka who stole the limelight. Be it boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, sprint race, hockey or shooting – Indians have never felt proud of their sportspersons as they did during these two sporting events. Likewise in cricket, players from little India or “Bharat” like M S Dhoni, Saurabh Tiwari, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Suresh Raina and Praveen Kumar stood tall over cricket stars from erstwhile cricket boards like Mumbai or Delhi. Had it not been for “Bharat” then at least in sports, India would have still trailed like in yesteryears.Even in economic terms, semi-urban “Bharat” fared much better than the so-called prosperous and economically vibrant India. Spending from semi-urban centres outstripped the metros. Demand picked up in the countryside and numerous B+ cities ordered many more Mercs and BMWs than the centres of wealth like Mumbai and Delhi. Naturally all corporate focus is gradually shifting towards the till now neglected “Bharat”.But alas, this rosy picture doesn’t take away the sting of increasing prices which destroyed the dreams and aspirations of middle-class India. Never before have prices of essential commodities risen so steeply as they have in 2010. Sugar, vegetables, pulses, wheat flour, petrol, diesel – everything went beyond the realms of middle India’s pocket and the government simply washed its hands off. Every three months, the Agriculture Minister and the Prime Minister assured the people that inflation would be brought under control, but prices kept moving northwards. As a matter of fact, the government neither bothered nor did it appear to be bothered about rising prices. So much for a government headed by an economist Prime Minister.People could have still digested uncontrollable price rise as income too grew in 2010. But the spate of scams, corruption and graft cases completely tarnished the brand equity of the honest Prime Minister – Manmohan Singh. His silence over the 2 G graft case, on former communication minister A Raja’s role in allocation of spectrum to favoured firms, the Radiagate expose and the role of movers and shakers in political, bureaucratic and journalist circles, exorbitant and humongous scale of corruption by the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, completely took off the stamp of incorruptible administrator. While the Congress party did try to send in a message that corruption will not be tolerated by removing Ashok Chavan from the hot seat in Maharashtra following the Adarsh society expose. To say that this washed away the tag of “chalta hai” approach by the government and the Congress is meaningless. After Bofors, these series of scams will be remembered for government’s inactivity and inept handling.In terms of judicial activism, 2010 saw some important and landmark decisions. The three-way formula suggested towards resolving the Ayodhya tangle is a luminary example of realism and pragmatism. Actually it would not be inappropriate to suggest that the entire controversy now seems irrelevant. The fast-paced Kasab trial and the overwhelmingly clear judgement on the role and active participation of certain sections of Pakistani establishment in perpetuating the horrors of Mumbai terror attack is worth remembering. This verdict has given the Indian investigative agencies huge leverage in terms of a concrete judgement, which can act as a basis for all future terror-related talks with Pakistan. But the recent mudslinging on former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan with respect to A Raja’s pressurising a High Court Judge in Tamil Nadu, left a bitter taste in the end of the year. It also made us realise that all may not be above temptation.In this backdrop, the year 2011 may not hold much in its belly. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will have to unshackle himself from the image of a lame duck PM trying to survive Her Majesty’s Voice. Its’ time he came out of the shadows of the Congress President and encashed his own brand equity as an honest, upright, uncompromising administrator.Fiscal deficit may be bridged in the book by the sale of 3G spectrum in this financial year but fiscal policies and inflation still haunt the nation like never before. Announcement of policies like education to all, employment to all, unique ID to all need to be backed by concrete policy framework and affirmative action.On the foreign policy front, the Indian State needs to realise that being a stooge of the P-5 will not serve the national interest. All these heads of state came to India to generate business for their own countries. As a consumer, India needs to be aware of its rights and demand a fare share in the international order. Instead of being mere consumers of white goods and armaments, we should demand investment in infrastructure, core industries and sectors which drive employment in our country.Socially, the national drive needs to give space to the fairer sex. Let the parliamentarians finally accept the fact that repression is not the best policy. If Women’s Reservation Bill is accommodated to give due representation to our womenfolk, it will not eat into the spadework of male politicians.Another social, rather parochial, matter of national importance is the so-called “honour killing”. Can anyone in his/her rational mind explain the vengefulness exhibited by literate and educated parents killing their own off-spring? Hopefully this year and the years to come will see a marked departure from such social evils.The wishlist can go on and on. But the moot point is India and “Bharat” need to move in sync. And it’s the people who make modern nation states. So kudos to the people of India who have shown marked resilience in past and made huge departures. Hopefully, we shall see many more.
Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who scored a ton against Bangladesh during the World Cup opener in Mirpur on Saturday, has conceded that his axing from the Indian team four years ago forced him to make changes in his game.”When I got dropped from the team in 2007, nobody expected the selectors to drop me but they did because of poor form. That’s when I changed my game both in terms of thinking and playing style. I started thinking on how to make my way back into the team,” Sehwag was quoted as saying in a media release.The swashbuckling batsman, who nearly scored a Test triple ton in a single day’s play after his comeback, had said that ahead of the World Cup match against Bangaldesh. “I got a chance and that’s when I proved myself again; I saved a test match for India when I scored 150 not out in Adelaide against Australia.”I had just scored 20 runs in 2 hours…can you imagine Sehwag scoring 20 runs in two hours? That was not how I played, but I changed my game just to save the Test match,” he pointed out.Sehwag, who was dropped in early 2007 from the ODI squad and later from the Test team too before storming his way back into the team, mentions improvisation as the key to his altered game.”Change The Game for me is the self belief and self confidence that pushes one beyond the limitations. To change the game, one has to think beyond the limitations and improvise.advertisement”I have that confidence and the self belief that I can do whatever is needed to be done and change the game on the field, especially in the crunch situations,” according to Sehwag.The upper cut or “upar” cut, the slash that sends the ball over the slip cordon to the third man region, has been mentioned as by Sehwag as one of the game changing shots though he had not practised it in the nets.”There are things that come naturally to you and the Upar Cut is one of them. I never practised this shot in the nets and have always gone with natural instincts while hitting the ball.”With the Upper Cut, I could easily hit third man six off a fast ball that would surprise the bowlers. Since, it came to me naturally, that made it easier for me to perfect it. I always try to think beyond the limits and the Upar Cut, especially has been a true game changer for me”.The India opener has also recalled the Chennai Test match against England when his pyrotechnics when chasing an imposing total of close to 400 helped India rocket off.”I remember once we were chasing around 387 runs against England and I scored a quick-fire 85 off just 50 odd balls.Those quick runs particularly changed the game in favour of our team. And eventually we had to chase less than 200 runs on the last day of the Test match with six-seven wickets still in hand.”Sehwag, in fact, made 83 off only 68 balls with 4 sixes and 11 fours before Sachin Tendulkar scored a brilliant, unbeaten 103 and Yuvraj Singh got 85 not out that piloted India to a six-wicket victory on the final day of the first match of the two-Test series in December, 2008.He mentions captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Tendulkar among the game changers he admires.”M S Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir are few players who change the game beyond the ordinary. Their thinking on and off the field helps achieve success and also excel in any format of the game”.- With PTI inputs
The stage couldn’t have been set up any better for the Chennai Super Kings as they set to take the field in the final of the Indian Premier League at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.The defending champions have all the aces in their pack as they try to defend their title and unlike the previous year when they were the underdogs against a rampant Mumbai Indians, this year the MS Dhoni-led side has worked like a well-oiled machine, hitting top gear at the right time.Right from the first game of IPL-4 when they piped Kolkata Knight Riders by two runs, Chennai have raised their game whenever the pressure has been on.The Super Kings don’t have the top-run getters or the highest wicket-takers in their ranks but what they have is a bunch that has been amongst the runs and wickets. There are five batsmen in the Chennai line-up – Suresh Raina, Mike Hussey, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni and Muali Vijay – who have scored more than 300 runs in the ongoing tournament with the entire batting line-up in good form.When it comes to bowling, they have three players – off spinner R Ashwin and pacers Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel – who have picked 15 wickets or more. Also, the Super Kings have three bowlers who have conceded less than seven an over and five in all who went for less than eight an over.It is clear that not only is their batting in fine fettle, their bowlers have the ability to squeeze the runs. That they are being led by a World Cup, Test championship, IPL and Champions League winning captain loads the dice in their favour.advertisementAnd most importantly, the Super Kings are playing at Chepauk, a fortress that no team has breached yet in seven attempts.Common sense says that law of averages should come into the equation, but the way the defending champions have utilised the conditions, it would take a huge effort to breach their defences.In Twenty20 cricket, it doesn’t take more than a short burst or a brilliant catch to change the game. But looking at the Chennai line-up, they seem well equipped to tackle any situation, even the marauding Chris Gayle.