Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz will begin their quest for a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia, with a first-leg football match against Nicaragua at the National Stadium tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. The contest is crucial to both country’s chances of playing in the prestigious tournament, as is the return match in Managua next week Tuesday. In this light, the pressure will be on Jamaica to push for a clear advantage at home. Aggregate scores will decide the winners of the series. Simple equation: win equals advance; loss means elimination. For the Reggae Boyz, the latter is unthinkable, even moreso as they have made tremendous advancement and improvement over the past year. Based on the current FIFA rankings Jamaica should hold a distinct advantage. The Reggae Boyz are ranked at 52 while Nicaragua are well down at 139. At year-end in 2014, the Jamaicans crowned themselves Caribbean champions with victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the final of the regional championship. They followed that up with practice match wins against Cuba and Venezuela. Then, Jamaica were invited for the first time to South America’s Copa America tournament, where they gained much stature and confidence despite losing 1-0 in matches against Paraguay, Uruguay and world number one Argentina. Immediately the Boyz played another tournament, the CONCACAF Gold Cup and made it all the way to the final, a historic feat for a Caribbean team. Coach Winfried Schafer used basically the same core of players throughout and the team actually got better and better, fuelling expectations of a handsome win against Nicaragua, which is somewhat of an unknown quantity, but from Central America where the players’ techniques and standards are quite good. Regardless, the Boyz will be looking to make their mark at this level, which defines Schafer’s four-year mandate. “It’s more important than the Gold Cup,” said the Jamaica coach. “It’s the first qualification for the World Cup group. All the players are highly motivated. We need a full stadium behind us, it’s important.” It’s a level of support that has proven effective in the past, so much so that the Reggae Boyz made the venue a fortress and called it ‘The Office’. This team though, has practically been doing the business on the road, with hardly any practice at the venue. Striker Giles Barnes, who got hot at the CONCACAF Gold Cup with two goals and forced a series of saves, relishes the opportunity to play in the nation’s capital, it’s prime sporting venue and is aiming to extend his goalscoring exploits. “To score again for the country, in Kingston, would be a dream come true; that’s a bonus,” he told The Gleaner in an interview. “I just want to win the game and get through and make sure we are in the World Cup qualifiers,” he added. His strike partner, Darren Mattocks, also got hot at the back-end of the Gold Cup, with goals in the historic semi-final victory over the United States and in the final against Mexico. Now he’s home, Mattocks wants his team to deliver for the fans. “Most of our overseas fans came to watch us (Gold Cup) and were really pleased. But the real die-hard fans are in Jamaica, so what we did in the Gold Cup and Copa America we want to bring back home,” he said. “We expect a big turnout and we are hoping to deliver on these two games,” added Mattocks. Nicaragua’s Football Association president, Jose Jacinto Reyes, said they are young but full of heart and desire victory. “Even though it’s a young team, we are playing with our hearts and even though we have a young team, we are here to win. And we pray to God that we can win, otherwise we will still give them a great challenge,” Reyes said. They beat Anguilla 8-0 and Suriname 4-1 (on aggregate) in round one and two qualifying. The leading scorer for the Central Americans is Raul Leguias with three goal while Juan Barrera and Carlos Chavarria have scored two each. The Jamaican challenge will be tougher. Mattocks and Barnes are expected to lead the attack, which will be missing Britain-based regulars, Joel (Jobi) McAnuff and Garath McLeary, whose wives are expecting. Simon Dawkins, Joel Grant and Demar Phillips are regulars who appear key candidates for those attacking midfield positions, while Schafer looks set to keep his trusted and efficient central midfield pairing of captain Rodolph Austin and Je-Vaughn Watson. Starting central defender Wes Morgan is unavailable, as is Jermaine Taylor, another vastly experienced central defender, who got a long-term injury at the Gold Cup. It means adjustments at the back, where Michael Hector, who only this week signed for Chelsea, appears a shoe-in. He made two mistakes that cost as many goals in the Gold Cup final, but said he was keen to make up and now gets the chance. In that back line will be Adrian Mariappa, the experienced Crystal Palace man. The options appear less clear in this key area, where Schafer has added to his options the very lucky Alvas Powell, who turned his back on his country at the Gold Cup by walking out on the team and at a stage where the team knew it would not have had four players for its next match. Schafer, who at the time said he would not have recalled Powell, has gone back on his word, noting the unavailability of Morgan and Taylor. Phillips and Hughan Gray may also come into the reckoning, while the goalkeeping duties could fall to either Dwayne Miller, or Duwayne Kerr, who blundered on a goal in the Copa 1-0 loss against Paraguay. Jamaica will be looking to boot away the errors in their quest to comfortably ride this Nicaraguan challenge in their kick-off for Russia 2018.
Despite the presence of national high-school female track and field champions Edwin Allen in large numbers, it was the Holmwood Technical girls who stole the spotlight at Saturday’s first staging of the Gerald Claude Foster over-distant meet at the G.C. Foster College track. With coaches using the opportunity to test their athletes’ fitness going into the Christmas break, the girls from Christiana showed signs that they will once again be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming season, showing good performances in the respective classes, finishing one – two in several of the events. Leading the way for Holmwood was first-year Class II athlete Shanette Allison. Allison an outstanding sprint hurdler at Champs, stopped the clock at 41.11, seconds to top her rivals in the Class II 300m. Her teammates Michae Harriot was second in 41.11 with Krishawna Wallace making it a top three clean sweep for Holmwood after finishing third in 41.69. Dyandra Gray was top for Holmwood in the Class III 300m, finishing ahead of her rivals in 41.08 seconds, as Edwin Allen’s Kevona Davis was second in 41.13 with her teammate, Ackelia Smith, coming in third overall in 41.67. Holmwood’s Shakera Williams was the best in the Class II 150m as she posted a quick 19.13 to be the fastest among her peers . Her teammate Marcia Spence, was second overall in 19.28 with Edwin Allen’s Machel Davis finishing third overall in 19.45. The Class I 150m win went to Holmwood’s Sauver Helcyann (18.55) with Edwin Allen’s Shellece Clarke, who was competing for the first time in the class, finishing second overall in a decent 18.87. another Holmwood girl, Kellisha King took third in 19.11 seconds. Athletes from the MVP Track Club also had good results in both the women 150m and 300m. In the 150m, former Wolmer’s Girls’ representative Kimberly Leach clocked 19.13 for the top spot with Melicka Newman (Knox), second in 19.31, while Xian-George Reid (UWI) was third in 19.46 seconds. Shennae Steele was the best over the 300m in 39.82 seconds. Former Vere standout Rene Medley of G.C. Foster College was second in 39.83 seconds, just ahead of her teammate Gayon Evans, who was third in 39.98 seconds. Former Green Island star Odail Todd led a clean sweep of the top three spots for G.C. Foster College in the mens, 300m. Todd was best in 34.28 seconds, the same time credited to Colin King, with Romario Williams coming in third in 34.78 seconds.
At least two Jamaican youth footballers between the ages of 13 and 16 will get the opportunity of a lifetime through yet another exciting initiative being spearheaded by telecommunications firm Flow and their partner, Manchester United. The Ultimate Football Experience, is a skills-based competition supported by the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) that seeks to give youngsters the chance-of-a-lifetime to participate in a talent development football camp; and even earn a trip to Old Trafford, Manchester to see Man Utd vs Crystal Palace on May 21st. Registration is now open for the football competition and concludes in May. Skilled boys and girls can register online at www.discoverflow.co/flowmanutd. Registered participants will then be instructed to appear at designated football festivals across all Caribbean markets in which Flow operates. The participants will engage in a Manchester United Soccer Schools international programme, which has been specially devised for the campaign and will be delivered by CFU coaches. Throughout the competition, Manchester United legends (former star players) will also be making an appearance at the festivals to offer their tips and advice. This is a proven Manchester United Soccer School programme designed to build and test the skills of young footballers across the globe. As the competition evolves, two participants from each Caribbean territory where FLOW operates, along with their respective coaches, will advance to a two-day skills session in Trinidad and Tobago to experience one-on-one training with CFU and Manchester United Soccer school coaches. There, they will participate in a series of drills designed by the coaches and compete for the chance for two finalists and their coach to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Old Trafford in Manchester, England. TALENTED YOUNGSTERS Considered to be the highlight of the development initiative the two winners along with their coaches will travel to the world-famous football stadium to witness first-hand Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace. This VIP experience will also include a visit to the Manchester United Museum and Tour, taking in the history of the club followed by a tour of the iconic stadium. Manchester United’s group managing director, Richard Arnold said, “Youth development is at the heart of this Club’s traditions and success. The Manchester United Soccer Schools were developed to help spread this spirit to as many children as possible. In recent years, our partners have been instrumental in helping the great work of our soccer schools coaches reach young people around the world. We’re proud to work with Flow on this project.” “Like Manchester United, Flow also has a deep sense of commitment to youth development as can be seen by our support of several programmes throughout the region that help to hone the skills of young footballers,” said Garfield Sinclair, Flow’s newly appointed president of the Caribbean. Sinclair also said “We’re therefore proud to work in partnership with Manchester United to offer this once-in-a-lifetime experience to our talented youngsters across the region.” The Ultimate Football Experience is one of several partnership initiatives between Manchester United and Flow.
The 24-year-old Valdez hopes to be back in time for the semifinals, but that’s if Creamline makes it through minus its best player.READ: Schedule conflicts inevitable with national team, says ValdezEven at 4-0, the Cool Smashers still have to win one out of their last three games to secure a semis slot. Dropping all their remaining assignments could put them in danger of missing the playoffs.“I looking forward to playing with my teammates because I won’t be returning until the semifinals,” Valdez said.“We just really have to win as many games as we can without Alyssa,” said Creamline assistant coach Oliver Almadro.ADVERTISEMENT Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson MOST READ Alyssa Valdez stays positive despite PH loss in volleyball opener PLAY LIST 01:14Alyssa Valdez stays positive despite PH loss in volleyball opener00:50Trending Articles01:54SEA Games: Inspired by Folayang’s presence, Tabugara delivers wushu gold01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite LATEST STORIES “I was super inspired to play in today’s game because you can’t really say what will happen the moment I return after my training [with the national team],” said Valdez.READ: Valdez stars as Creamline takes down Pocari Sweat FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’The superstar skipper is set to miss Creamline’s next three games against the Power Smashers on Wednesday, University of the Philippines next Saturday and BanKo-Perlas on July 30.The charismatic Valdez and the rest of the Philippine volleyball team are scheduled to leave for a training camp in Japan on Monday. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAlyssa Valdez didn’t want to leave anything to chance before she leaves Creamline to be with the national team.In her last game in the elimination round Saturday, Valdez left her imprint with 30 points to lead the Cool Smashers over the defending champions Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors.ADVERTISEMENT Valdez is upbeat that despite her absence, her teammates will be able to deliver.“I’m really confident with my teammates. We just need to inspire one another,” she said. “They will continue to fight for the team to make it to the semifinals.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping’s name mistranslation LIVE: Sinulog 2020 Grand Parade Malacañang open to creating Taal Commission View comments Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Loreto falls to Thai foe in world title bid Missile-capable frigate BRP Jose Rizal inches closer to entering PH Navy’s fleet End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend
View comments Import Allen Durham said the Bolts didn’t play defense the way they had been defending in the elimination round where they wound up at the helm in a tight race for the top spot.And Meralco’s poor defense resulted to a stunning loss to No. 8 Blackwater, which took a 92-91 win on a game-winner to setup a do-or-die game for a semifinals slot on Thursday.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog“We’re out of it just the whole game. We’re doing a lot of dumb stuff on defense. We just weren’t playing like ourselves,” said the reigning Best Import.The Bolts played in their second game in three days, but Durham said it’s no excuse to play as badly as they did defensively. DAY6 is for everybody Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Meralco was the No. 1 team coming into the playoffs but played nothing like it, at least on the defensive end on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours LATEST STORIES Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:09Trump: Don’t feel like I’m being impeached00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson “A little bit [tired], but not as much as like not doing what we’re needed to do on the defensive end. We left a lot of wide-open shots, and that team is filled with shooters and if you do that they’re gonna knock it down.”Durham nearly won it for Meralco after giving his team a 91-90 lead with 15.8 seconds left before Allein Maliksi put Blackwater ahead for good on a mid-range jumper six seconds later.“Like I said, as a team collectively, we played pretty bad on defense and for myself, I gotta be more aggressive on offense. I gotta do more. I’ll pick it up on Thursday and hopefully, come out with the win,” said Durham.Durham collected 18 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists, but he was still outplayed by Henry Walker, who put up 30 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, 18 rebounds and six assists to lead Blackwater.ADVERTISEMENT In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson How to help the Taal evacuees Elite topple No. 1 Bolts in thriller, force decider for semis spot
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMarck Espejo’s name has been synonymous to Most Valuable Player.The Ateneo superstar added another MVP award to his resume as the best player in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.ADVERTISEMENT The 20-year-old Espejo, who has already four UAAP titles, was officially named PVL MVP on Saturday before the Blue Eagles pulled off a finals sweep of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.Apart from being the conference MVP, Espejo also bagged the Finals MVP plum and was recognized as the Best Outside Spiker. He had 20 points in the title-clinching win.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogHis teammates Esmilzo Joner Polvorosa and Manuel Sumanguid III was named Best Setter and Best Libero, respectively.The other awardees were Fauzi Ismail of National University (2nd Best Outside Spiker), John Paul Bugaoan of Far Eastern University (Best Middle Blocker), Kib Malabunga of NU (2nd Best Middle Blocker), Joshua Umandal of University of Santo Tomas (Best Opposite Spiker). MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ LATEST STORIES View comments Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? Jo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Brownlee happy with Ginebra’s aggressive start in PBA Finals Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next
Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jo Koy: My brain always wants to think funny Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. And if Mbala was unsurprised in his defensive assignment, the same cannot be said for Desiderio.Mbala stands at 6-foot-8 and is a good 230-pounder while Desiderio stands at a generous six feet and is very much lighter than the Green Archer.“When he guarded me in the first quarter I was surprised because the guy in front of me was really big,” said Desiderio in Filipino. “And I felt awkward when he guarded me so I had no choice but to guard him in the second quarter.”Desiderio obviously struggled against the bigger Mbala as he shot 2-of-13 from the floor in 31 minutes of play.“La Salle had three bigs at a time and if we put Ibra [Ouattara] outside there’d be no rim protector so I had to get Ben.”ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES MOST READ Brownlee, Tenorio shine as Ginebra takes 2-0 Finals lead Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Coco’s house rules on ‘Probinsyano’ set FILE – Ben Mbala. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIn what became as one of the most lopsided games in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, one odd matchup stood out.As defending champion La Salle wrapped up University of the Philippines 85-62 Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre, the matchup of the game was the hulking Ben Mbala against the rather diminutive Paul Desiderio.ADVERTISEMENT Kiss-and-tell matinee idol’s conquests: True stories or tall tales? OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ View comments And the reigning MVP had good reason for guarding the Fighting Maroons’ shooting guard.Desiderio shot the lights out in the first encounter between the two teams scoring a career-high 30 points in a 98-87 UP victory, and Mbala was tasked to prove he’s La Salle’s best individual defender.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog“I’m bigger than him, and I just have to stay in front of him and even if I get blown by I know I’m bigger and faster,” said Mbala, who had 27 points and 14 rebounds in his matchup against Desiderio.“Well it’s part of basketball, you got to be able to adjust. They used me as a three then they used him as a four.” Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene
In this Nov. 2, 2016, file photo, former boxer Vinny Paz, subject of the film “Bleed for This,” poses at the premiere of the film in Beverly Hills, Calif. Retired boxing champion Vinny Paz, whose comeback story after a car crash was dramatized in the 2016 film “Bleed for This,” has been accused of attacking a Rhode Island man and sending him to the hospital. Providence police say they were called to a home early Tuesday morning, Jan . 2, 2018. They say when officers arrived, witnesses told them Paz had accused a friend of stealing $16,000 and then assaulted him. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Police said Friday they have issued an arrest warrant for retired boxing champion Vinny Paz after he was accused of attacking a Rhode Island man and sending him to the hospital.Providence police said they were called to a home early Tuesday morning, where witnesses told them Paz had accused a friend of stealing $16,000 and then assaulted him. The man was taken to the hospital with injuries including several broken teeth, a black eye and bite marks that drew blood.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Ayo to ink six-year deal with UST OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson LATEST STORIES Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina View comments MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Police issued an arrest warrant on a felony assault count later Tuesday.Paz made a series of statements on Twitter and to a local TV station, saying that he was the victim . He told WPRI-TV that he got robbed, “and when that happens, you gotta do what you gotta do.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours
Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City “We won’t chase (fans) away” if they’re carrying Russian flags, Kovalchuk said Tuesday. “If there’s an IOC rule then we’ll talk to them, explain it and take a photograph without the flag.”In the stands, though, Russian fans can be as patriotic as they like.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThey’ve been a loud and proud presence at events like hockey, biathlon and figure skating, wrapped in flags and chanting in Russian. Many say they want to dress up to compensate for their athletes’ drab neutral uniforms.The fans made the half-full Gangneung Hockey Center ring with chants during the Russian hockey team’s opening game against Slovakia on Wednesday but were left disappointed in defeat. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Wind chaos injures 16 at weather-hit Pyeongchang Games “Yuskov and Kulizhnikov were important. They were real gold medals,” said Savinov, who’s now planning to watch hockey and looking for spare tickets to other events.With some of the best Russians at home, many Pyeongchang winners aren’t real champions, his wife Olga Savinova argued. “I think it reduces the level of competition,” she said. “They won’t feel like real, absolute winners. It’s sporting competition, a festival, and people had been preparing for it all their lives.”Their opinions are echoed by the Russian government, including President Vladimir Putin, who presents Russian doping scandals as a U.S.-led attempt to weaken an Olympic rival.Russian fans tend to buy tickets together, organizing themselves into noisy cheering sections. Many fly flags with the names of their home cities — often places in the Far East like Vladivostok, a short flight to South Korea — and wear merchandise emblazoned with the slogan “Russia in my heart,” which is being distributed by a Russian hospitality house just off the Gangneung seafront.“Russia in my heart” started as a patriotic statement by hockey players at an exhibition tournament in December but soon took on wider political meaning on when the hockey players presented Putin with a signed jersey bearing the slogan.That was swiftly followed by a “Russia in my Heart” rally just off Red Square — part-pep rally, part-concert, with speakers railing against the IOC decision and Western economic sanctions, talking up Russia’s military intervention in Syria and commemorating the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany by Soviet forces in the Battle of Stalingrad.The climax came when biathlete Anton Shipulin, barred from the Pyeongchang Games by the IOC, ran the Russian flag up a pole as the anthem played. If “Olympic Athletes from Russia” win gold in Pyeongchang, they’ll get the Olympic flag and Olympic anthem.“After the Olympics we’re going to raise flags and we’ll listen to our Russian anthem,” Shipulin said. “The army of fans, our whole country supporting us. That means a lot and it’s a great honor for us. And for us it’s already half of the victory.” Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson View comments LATEST STORIES Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew A line of Russian women danced with pompoms, a Soviet flag flew and South Koreans lined up for selfies with a man dressed in a bear costume. “Russia is a big country and a great power,” read the inscription on one Russian flag.“We’re shouting so much that our voices are going,” said a fan who identified himself only as Andrei. “We’re just devoting ourselves to it and supporting our athletes, because there’s not so many people here from our country.”Many fans wore replicas of the Olympic uniform Russians had been due to wear before the IOC punishment came down in December.Andrei Savinov, a 53-year-old from Moscow who deals in wood, hunted for souvenirs at the Olympic Park with his wife, both decked out in Russian uniforms from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.“We bought the uniform specially so that Russianness is at least visible somehow,” said Savinov. The couple bought Olympic tickets hoping to see Russian medals in the speedskating, but top skaters Denis Yuskov and Pavel Kulizhnikov were banned by the IOC.ADVERTISEMENT GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Russian supporters wait before the preliminary round of the men’s hockey game between Slovakia and the team from Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Ilya Kovalchuk has a rule for any fans wanting an Olympic selfie — put the Russian flag away.The forward for the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” hockey team is worried about breaking International Olympic Committee sanctions imposed on Russia after its Sochi doping scandal. Athletes compete in neutral uniforms and have to sign a document saying they won’t protest the ruling that turned Team Russia into OAR.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano
Ceres Negros. Photo from @AFCCup Twitter account.Ceres Negros stayed unbeaten in the AFC Cup with a hard earned 1-0 away victory over Myanmar’s Shan United Wednesday night, while Global Cebu secured a breakthrough win in dramatic fashion at Rizal Memorial Stadium.The Busmen leaned on an early penalty conversion from Spanish striker Bienve Maranon and needed some stellar goalkeeping from Toni Doblas to preserve the victory at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon.ADVERTISEMENT Scarlett Johansson, Sterling K. Brown among SAG Awards presenters Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Go for Gold athletes deliver in Asian triathlon MOST READ But Sanchez was fouled inside the area in the 93rd minute and the Spanish striker duly converted the spot kick as Global finally notched victory after four matches.Global remained at the bottom of its group, behind Vietnamese side Thanh Hoa on goal difference, but the Filipinos can still advance if they beat Thanh Hoa at home and Bali United away.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Conor McGregor seeks to emerge from controversy in UFC comeback LATEST STORIES Maranon scored in the 15th minute after he was fouled inside the area, but the Busmen also missed a host of chances that could have sealed the match earlier. Fortunately for Ceres, Doblas was in fine form, saving a couple of one-on-one opportunities to keep another clean sheet.With its second straight win against the Myanmar League winner, Ceres, the reigning Asean zone champion increased its haul to 10 points from four matches in Group F, moving closer to the knockout stage of the continental competition.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkAt Rizal Memorial Stadium, Global kept its hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive after a last gasp goal from Spanish striker Rufo Sanchez secured a thrilling 2-1 win over Group G leader Yangon United Tuesday.Former Trinidad and Tobago international Daryl Roberts put Global in front with a header off a Dom Del Rosario delivery in the 79th minute, but the visitors equalized through Muang Muang Lwin’s diving header just before stoppage time. Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerism Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Recto seeks to establish Taal rehab body to aid community, eruption victims In Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments