Shevchenko: “The draw was lucky”

first_imgIn response to the question of which team worries him most, the coach replied that “The stronger the team, the more interesting it will be to prove what one is worth”. “Our team has no pressure. The tournament has not even started. It was created to give some options to qualify through the League of Nations. But, more than anything, it is a possibility to gain experience, to play with rivals of enjundia. Spain, Germany and Switzerland are waiting for us, world-class teams, “he explained.As for his team, he admitted that the goal is to “settle in the upper division”. “We’ll see if we succeed. We had to work hard to get into League A. For each player it is a great motivation. Show your strength to the best teams in Europe and the world“, He said. In the face of the European Championship, in which Ukraine is inserted in Group C together with the Netherlands, Austria and a team of the repesca to know, considered that the objective is to move on to the next round. The Ukrainian coach, Andrei Shevchenko, today considered the draw of the League of Nations “lucky”, where his team will face Spain, Germany and Switzerland in group 4 of League A.“Yes, we have had strong teams, but it will be even more interesting to play those games. Such confrontations will be a real experience for our players. Therefore, I consider that the draw was fortunate, “he told the Ukrainian press.Shevhenko, what He qualified Ukraine for the European Championship as the first of his group ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, said that “I did not expect easy equipment.” “At this point in the classification, all teams are strong. It is already an achievement for us to access the group with the strongest teams in Europe“, he pointed.last_img read more

“Diego Costa showed an enormous desire to sign for Palmeiras, but the numbers were absurd”

first_imgCosta, for the second consecutive season, has again been haunted by physical problems and has not been in a position to offer the best of him. Circumstance is very similar to that experienced last season and that settled in Atlético a debate about its future. Finally, he stayed. There were some approaches, from his country in particular the greats of his league asked about him. Flamengo did it and, also, Palmeiras. This was recognized in an interview with Yahoo Brazil by Alexandre Mattos, who was the sports director of the green team, led the conversations, he says, in person with the player and managed to convince him, but there were other obstacles that prevented another outcome. “Diego Costa showed an enormous desire to play for Palmeiras, but the numbers were absurd,” he admits. The player’s salary was the first and the amounts of a transfer the next. The highest chips in Brazilian football are below the half that the striker wins at Atlético. Mattos affirms that he spoke on several occasions with the striker and that he welcomed the return to Brazil, although he did not find the same collaboration in the player’s agent in the middle of last year. “There was a lot of talk, but we did not go from there, his businessman did not show any desire to carry out the transfer,” he explains, considering the movement unfeasible. Diego Costa faces his last year and a half of contract with Atlético. The striker faces a new break months after entering his last year of contract at Atlético. Diego Costa was once again trying to keep up with his rhythm when the global coronavirus pandemic stopped everyone’s life short. The Atlético striker had played 56 minutes in the battle of Anfield. Few seemed to him to judge by the face with which he left the field, but the Spanish-Brazilian was still completing a process of readjustment to competition after the cervical disc herniation that made him undergo surgery. Again. He played just a quarter of an hour on his return, precisely against Liverpool at the Metropolitan. Then he had just under half an hour against Espanyol and Sevilla before traveling to Mersey. At the end of the season and after the sanction that Costa suffered for the episode of Camp Nou, the debate was opened at the club regarding his future.An internal current pointed at his exit, while another still trusted him. The truth is that the most determining factor for him to stay in the team was the real absence of important offers. No one paid the amount of the transfer or took over the gigantic token of the battering ram. Now, at 31 years old (he will be 32 in October) he faces another break, just before entering his last year of contract. Costa’s second episode as rojiblanco has been marked by continuous physical problems. In very few moments it has left the sensations with which it was handled in the previous installment. This season he had lost 18 games before injury and had played 19 games for a total of 1,192 minutes and two goals. In total, he has lost 50 games due to physical problems in this second cycle as a rojiblanco with a total of 272 days off.last_img read more

Campbell looks forward to World Championships

first_imgSTOCKHOLM, Sweden:You don’t see too many Jamaicans competing in the 800m, but Simoya Campbell is one of that number.The Jamaican came home sixth at the BAHAUS Athletics Diamond League meeting in a time of 2:01:57.However, she quite literally did not have the best of starts. Just moments before the gun, she raised her hand, having felt that she and the other competitors were being held too long.The gun did eventually go, but the athletes were recalled.Campbell told The Gleaner: “I didn’t have a problem. It was just that when I got ready to start they took too long.”During the race, she was always off the pace and came in well behind winner Renelle Lamote of France, who recorded 1:59:91.Now, like many athletes, Campbell is looking ahead to the World Championships in Beijing.”My preparation was good and I’m in good shape. I just want to run myself into top shape for the World Championships.”I didn’t get a win, but I’m still happy. At least I got to run before the World Championships and I’m happy with that.”I feel very confident before going to Beijing and feel comfortable in myself. I have been putting in all the work needed”I feel happy. I’m very pleased to represent Jamaica.”The country is known for sprinting and not middle distance, but there are many more middle-distance runners to come.”When asked why the 800m was her choice of event, she added: “It was what God wanted me to do. It is not easy.”last_img read more

JC emphasis on Manning Cup

first_imgLooking back at last year’s schoolboy football season, Jamaica College (JC) re-emphasised its imprint on the competition by taking three successive Manning Cup titles. This is a distinction only once achieved in history.This columnist declares interest in that the previous occasion was the 1961, 1962, 1963 trot, started in his final year of a school which churned out three of the nation’s heads of state.Going into the final against perennial arch-rivals St George’s College was a challenge on mammoth proportions. The Jesuit school had rolled over the team from Old Hope Road in the Super Cup final, four goals to nil. In certain quarters, it was seen as humiliating.Take it as you choose, it was a tutorial in basic execution of brilliance, put on by coach Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell-inspired boys in the lighter shade of blue.Coach Miguel Coley, in charge of the JC unit, had been distracted by national duties. However, there were going to be no excuses accepted in-house for that temporary break in his substantive role. The Catholics had to be turned back if a tradition of triumph was to be sustained.In an address to Old Boys’ recently, chief architect in the JC sporting structure and corporate giant, Ian Forbes, summed it up. Himself an old boy, he called the eventual, trophy-deciding one-nil performance as a message to the country.FIGHTING RIVALS”Whether in the classrooms, on the playing fields or in the corporate boardrooms, private or public sector, we must take the fight to our opposing rivals and not let them roll over or conquer us, no matter how frightening the task may be.”Call it late, as the track and field season has started and thoughts are on this Olympic Year. But it was inevitable that Foster’s Fairplay would, at some time, look back at that 4-0, crafted to put the boys from Hope in their place. As to how the comeback to take the Manning Cup, was orchestrated and executed, occupies this column, this week.Enter the passion, belief and commitment of coach Coley. Here was a man steeped in a sporting culture that saw him, at the youthful age of 17, playing basketball, cricket, volleyball, football and doing long jump at Intercol, while attending Mico Teachers College. In 2004, he was named Athlete of the Year. On the soccer field, he “had dreams of one day playing for Manchester United”.Armed with a degree in sports education and a diploma in English and physical education, he had understudied coaching exemplars in Barry Watson (Mile Gully High) and Alrick Clarke (Norman Manley High, where he coupled with teaching duties). Coley referred to Clarke in glowing terms.”I believe coach Clarke was (my) early mentor as he took me to assist him everywhere he coached.”It was in this period that the JC call had come. Given the resultant impact as he became absorbed in the Old Hope Road programme, it would be simple to merely say, ‘and the rest is history’.However, story of the 2015 ‘rise from the ashes’, 1-0, to turn back the St George’s College march, to greater glory, must be told.Coley reminisced. “The four-nil was a catastrophe. It was a tough night. I hadn’t slept based on what took place between Jamaica and Panama (a Reggae Boyz loss). I knew it would be a difficult game, but we were too open and we played right in the hands of a philosophy of outscoring your opponent, as the entire statistic favoured JC except the goal column.”SOUL SEARCHINGHe underwent a period of introspection. He described it as a time to “soul search, dig deep and become stronger as a man”. His confidence never waned.”I was happy that I had time to work with my players before the next game, and I knew things would be way different. But congrats to St George’s, they did what they had to do.”In order to “move from a four-nil”, he took full responsibility. So, “it’s not you, it’s me”, that was what was important.”What was good was that my management staff and school administration had so much belief in my ability to turn things around, and their support intensified. This was the moment for me to see champions brush themselves up and rise with pride.”Therein lay the passion that brought the turnaround. Coley ended the discourse on a special note.”We are one … Fervet family. Teamwork makes the dream work.”last_img read more

#JAVotes2016: Slow start to voting in Dalvey, St Thomas

first_imgTwelve votes for the People’s National Party (PNP) and seven for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) were the numbers given by the cluster leaders 90 minutes into voting at polling stations 42 A and B in Dalvey, eastern St Thomas. The PNP’s Dr Fenton Ferguson has never won the division though having served as member of parliament for 23 consecutive years. JLP cluster leader, Carlene Steele, does not anticipate the division to change hands as she is confident that her party’s representative Delano Seiveright will triumph. “We are going to have a strong turnout. Wi never lose in our polling division,” Steele said. “It has happened every year where in the morning voting is slow.” One of the cluster leaders for the PNP in the area, Ann-Marie Williams, attributed the low early morning turnout to the fact that persons have gone to work. “Later we will have a better turnout, because most of our sure votes are out in the field,” Williams said. “We have mostly cane cutters, some people have gone to work to return and we have elderly persons, who we have to pick up. We are going to win it.” Ferguson won the seat in 2011 by 473 votes over the JLP’s Patrece Charles Freeman. ryon.jones@gleanerjm.comlast_img read more

Muir makes history in winning Canadian Derby

first_imgEDMONTON, Ontario (CMC):Jamaican jockey Shamaree Muir became the youngest every rider to win the CDN$150,000 Grade III Canadian Derby when he produced a tremendous ride aboard favourite Ready Intaglio.The 21-year-old, in his first season outside of Jamaica, partnered with the Amber Meyaard-trained colt to beat the three-year-olds by three-quarter lengths going a mile and three-eighths.Thirteen-to-one chance, Solve, with another Jamaican, Dane Nelson, aboard, finished second while The Accuser, with Barbadian Damario Bynoe in the irons, placed third.”He was relaxed and I just waited for the right time to make my move,” said Muir.”He’s the smartest horse I’ve ever ridden. This is a very classy horse. I think he’s going to go places.”Hold the Giant and Northernlocomotive whipped the field through a brisk pace, laying down 23.28 seconds for the quarter mile and 47.82 for the half-mile, as Muir raced Ready Intaglio in a bunch near the rear of the field.Through the stretch for the first time, Barbadian Rico Walcott brought Inside Straight up to join the leaders and then took over the running on the backstretch, with Muir already threading Ready Intaglio through the field down on the inside.As the race swung forhome, Inside Straight held sway with Solve and The Accuser running on strongly, but Muir expertly slipped Ready Intaglio through a seam along the rails in mid-stretch to hit the front.Solve tried to stay with the pair, but Muir had the momentum and carried the colt the wire strongly to win in style.”I just took the shortest way around; the shortest way is the fastest way,” Muir said of his decision to keep the colt on the rails.”I was on the rail just about every step. I think that was what made the difference.”Muir and the connections of Ready Intaglio survived anxious moments afterwards, however, as an objection was launched by Walcott for interference in the stretch run.The stewards eventually dismissed the claim.last_img read more

Brown, Dixon impress at Burger King ‘Run di road’ 10k

first_imgWITH very cool conditions prevailing for most of the morning due to persistent showers just before the race, defending champion Kirk Brown and last year’s third-place finisher Britnie Dixon of Vere Technical made the most of the chill at yesterday’s staging of the Burger King Portmore ‘Run Di Road’ 10K road race.The pair captured the male and female titles in convincing style, with Brown, who was winning the event for a fifth time and four years in a row, clocking 31 minutes 55 seconds for the win.Like he did a year ago, the in-form Oshane Archibald of G.C. Foster College had to settle for second place in 32 minutes 14 seconds, while former Mavis Bank High School athlete Garfield Gordon took third place in 32 minutes 17 seconds.Brown, who less than 12 hours earlier had captured the Guardian Life Night 5K event in New Kingston, showed no form of tiredness as once again he proved that he is the best in the island on the road taking control of the race from the early stages.”It was not hard for me today (yesterday) because, in the first part of the race, the other runners ran to my advantage as they went out very fast. But that suited me because I know that I have strong endurance and good top-end speed. After taking over at the 6K mark, I just pulled away from the field. Running the night before didn’t affected me as I have done this before and I am used to this, ” said Brown.Dixon, one of the favourites to dominate in the middle distance at Champs next year, was in a no-nonsense mood, dominating her rivals to be the first female to cross the line in 40 minutes 59 seconds, ahead of Church Teachers’ College’s Melissa Tyme, 41:04 seconds, and Edwin Allen’s Kara Grant, who competed for Spalding High last year, finishing third in 41 minutes 14 seconds.”It was a very competitive race, but I was confident in winning as my strategy was to just get out very fast on my rivals, knowing that they would have difficulty in catching me back; and I just increased my speed after every 1K,” said Dixon.MUCH IMPROVEDWith their powerful middle-distance team, Edwin Allen’s girls topped the female team event finishing first with an average of 42 minutes 32 seconds. Vere Technical was second in 43:28, with Holmwood Technical taking third in 44:52.The much-improved Mavis Bank High took the male team award with an average time of 36 minutes 17 seconds, ahead of Bellefield High, 36 minutes 19 and St. Jago High third with 37 minutes 13 seconds.As usual, it was very exciting among teams in the 4×1500 metres relays, where Hydel High, led by Monifa Green, and Kingston College, led by Shane Buchanan captured the female and male titles, while GC Foster College was first in the Institutions and Clubs section.Subrina McDonald-Radcliffe, regional sales and Marketing Manager of Burger King, was very pleased with the event despite a lower turnout from previous years and the absence of a walk race.”We are very pleased of what happened today (yesterday) and despite not doing our usual 5K in Mandeville this year leading up to the event today, due to the weather, and although the turnout is not what we wanted, we are grateful. The interest is still in the product and next year we are hoping to make it much bigger and better, as we are going back to the table to do some serious panning,” said McDonald-Radcliffe.last_img read more

Tony Becca | And now, a new technical director

first_img CAPTAIN TAYLOR Speaking of coaches, Jamaica is in need of coaches, good coaches, and quickly at that. Good coaches make good cricketers, sometimes they turn good cricketers into great cricketers, and good and great cricketers make good and great teams. At present, Jamaica has some good coaches – Robert Samuels, Terrence Corke and Odelmo Peters, to name a few – but more are needed, and many more at that. Jamaica’s cricket needs more coaches to match the numbers in football, more so, the numbers and the quality of those in track and field, and thank God, two good ones are now available. One who is currently available is Andre Coley, the former Kingston College, Kingston Club, Lucas, Jamaica Youth, West Indies Youth, and Jamaica wicketkeeper. Coley recently worked as an assistant coach on the West Indies team for a few years, but he is back home and ready to work in Jamaica. The other one is Robert Haynes, the former Kingston College, Lucas Club, Kensington Club, Jamaica Youth, West Indies Youth, Jamaica, and West Indies ODI right-arm leg-spinner, and the man who narrowly missed representing the West Indies in Test matches. It would be a good move to get them on the Jamaica Cricket Association’s team of coaches, where they could better serve Jamaica’s cricket well. COLEY AND HAYNES It is said that good things come to those who wait, and thankfully, something good has come to West Indies cricket, courtesy of president Dave Cameron. The new technical director of West Indies cricket is a West Indian, and he is none other than Jimmy Adams, the former Jamaica and West Indies left-handed batsman, part-time left-arm spinner, and part-time wicketkeeper who also served as captain. The man, who, after his first 12 Test matches, boasted a better average than the legendary Don Bradman, is also a member of the ICC’s World Cricket Committee and a former president of the FICA, the Federation of International Cricketers Association. After marking time for a long time, during which Englishman Richard Pybus sat in the position, the West Indies Cricket Board finally saw the wisdom of having one of their own in this most important position in their fight to get the West Indies back to the top of world cricket. And they could not have made a better choice. Adams is a good man, he was a good cricketer, and one who played with some good and great cricketers. He is bright, he was a student of the game before, during, and after his playing days, he broadened his knowledge of the game as coach of Jamaica and of country club Kent, and most important of all, he possesses a passion second to none for the development of the game. As one who has been through been there and done it all, mainly through hard work and dedication as against what is glibly called ‘natural talent’, he is also a natural fit for the job. On top of all that, Adams possesses the kind of personality, and the integrity, which make him ideal for the job, the job of working with and dealing with the West Indian people and their insularity. If anyone can do it, Adams seems to be the one. A round of applause for the West Indies Cricket Board for seeing the light and taking Adams on board as the technical director, even though they apparently have also employed Australian Stuart Law as the West Indies cricket coach. That move is a negative one following the replacement of Bennett King, another Australian, with Phil Simmons and then the firing of Simmons some months ago. It reminds me of the popular saying about the cow kicking over the pail of milk. The West Indies were once the best cricket team in the world, and arguably the best ever in the world, and the West Indies must have produced a few good coaches over the years. Simmons was and is a good coach, and his only mistake was that he mixed up the job as coach and that of a selector, or as the selector, and a very talkative one at that. It is, however, infra dig, or at least it appears so, to turn to an Australian, or an Englishman, or to anyone but a West Indian to solve the problem of West Indies cricket in this day and age. Congrats to Jamaica’s women’s cricket captain and to the winning West Indies women’s World Cup captain, Staphanie Taylor, who has been named captain of the Women’s Team of the Year by the International Cricket Council. This is the first year that the award has been made in women’s cricket. The team, which was named for the period September 2015 to September 2016, includes two West Indians, three New Zealanders, two Australians, two English, one Indian, and one South African. The team, which was named in batting order, has Taylor coming in at number four and Deandra Dottin, also of the West Indies, batting at number eight. New Zealand’s Suzzie Bates, who was named to bat at number one, was named the ODI and T20 Player of the Year. Bates, who won the ODI award in 2013, was the first player to win both awards. In ODI matches, she totalled 472 runs for an average of 94.90 per innings and took eight wickets at an economy rate of 3.75 runs over, and in T29 cricket, Bates scored 429 runs with four fifties at an average of 42.90 per innings.last_img read more

Madrid derby highlights Champions League semis – Juve, Monaco to meet for spot in final

first_img CONTINUED FAITH “Every year and every game is different,” said former Madrid player Emilio ButragueÒo, the club’s director of institutional relations. “They will be two very intense games. Atletico never gives you anything, and we will continue to have faith in the players who have gotten us this far.” In its seventh straight semi-final, Madrid are trying to become the first team to repeat as champion since the competition’s new format was created in 1992. It won a record-extending 11th title last season. Atletico are seeking their first title. In addition to the defeats against Madrid, they also lost to Bayern Munich in the 1974 final. The second leg against Madrid will mark the last Champions League game at the Vicente CalderÛn before Atletico moves to their new stadium. “The best stage to bid farewell to the Calderon in the Champions League,” Atletico midfielder Sa?l —Ìguez said. Two-time champions Juventus are trying to return to the final since losing the final to Barcelona in 2015. That year, they eliminated Monaco in the quarter-finals with a 1-0 aggregate score. “It’s a tough opponent. They shouldn’t be underestimated because we know how dangerous they can be,” Juventus defender Stephan Lichtsteiner said. “Having seeing them up close against us two years ago when they had the same coach, I can say they play lovely football. They’re very quick upfront and strong in attack. “They don’t have anything to lose and the pressure will be all on our shoulders. Their weakness could be their lack of experience, as they are a very young group. They might concede a lot of goals, but they score a lot too.” Juventus are looking for their first European title since 1996. Monaco are in the semi-finals for the first time since they lost the 2004 final to FC Porto. The final is in Cardiff on June 3. NYON, Switzerland (AP): Defending champions Real Madrid will meet city rivals Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League in a rematch of last season’s final. The Spanish teams also met in the 2014 final, with Madrid winning both times. The draw yesterday pitted Juventus and Monaco in the other semi-final. Madrid will play the first game at home on May 2. Monaco will host Juventus on May 3. The return legs will be the following week. “The goal is to reach the final, and to do that you have to beat whichever opponent you get,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “The goal and the motivation would be the same with any other opponent.” The Madrid clubs have faced each other in the last three Champions Leagues. Madrid also defeated Atletico in the 2015 quarter-finals.last_img read more

On Christmas, NBA shows off its best — and who’s got next

first_imgMeralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals It’s a star-studded slate, with the NBA Finals rematch standing out among the top teams and power players.The league is driven by star power, and the NBA is going all-in this year. The schedule is about the best players, not all the best teams.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 folkAnd with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Kristaps Porzingis starting the day, and Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Karl-Anthony Towns finishing it, this year’s showcase is as much about the guys who got next on the marquee as the ones on top already.“They’re doing it for talent. You have the talent and the marketable players, so I understand why they’re picking those teams,” said Sacramento veteran Vince Carter. 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 In this file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives on Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of Game 4 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Cleveland. The NBA is driven by star power and its Christmas Day lineup is about the league’s best players, not all the best teams. Yes, the NBA will roll out LeBron James and Kevin Durant, toss in some Russell Westbrook and James Harden under the mistletoe. APNEW YORK — There’s LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Golden State against Cleveland, for fans wanting more of the NBA’s reigning rivalry.For those preferring something new, the league’s Christmas Day schedule has that, too.ADVERTISEMENT Durant leads Warriors past Lakers for 11th straight win A tantalizing twosome that could’ve been a Big Three. Embiid and Simmons have the Sixers on the rise in their first year together, but imagine if Porzingis was there with them. The Knicks took the 7-foot-3 forward with the No. 4 pick in 2015, immediately after Philadelphia passed for the since-traded Jahlil Okafor.LeBron & KD — Enough said.Peace on Christmas? Maybe not in Boston, where the Celtics and Wizards renew a heated rivalry that only grew hotter after they went seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Toss in Kyrie Irving going against John Wall, and the plot thickens.Westbrook vs. Harden alone would have been a good gift, but it’s even better after Chris Paul joined Harden in Houston, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony surrounded Westbrook in Oklahoma City.Christmas is for kids, and the Lakers have Ball and Brandon Ingram, the last two No. 2 picks, and the lesser-known Kuzma who might become the best of the bunch. The Wolves have their own youngsters in Towns and Andrew Wiggins, but it’s the acquisition of Jimmy Butler that could finally end the postseason drought that dates to 2004.Teams win titles but stars are the stories on Christmas, as the Celtics know.Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen had just departed when Brad Stevens arrived, and the NBA didn’t want the league’s most storied franchise without its superstars. So Boston was ignored for three years before finally getting back on the schedule last year, and now Irving, Jayson Tatum and these Celtics make history as the first to be home for the holiday.“I understand that it’s probably not everybody’s favorite event, people that bust their tail and work in the arenas and are there all the time, and maybe media and everybody else,” Stevens said. “But to be a player or coach on Christmas Day, it’s pretty special and I think it’s something that having not been there, our first couple of years, I don’t take for granted that we’re on that schedule, for sure.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. All of them but the Spurs are in action Monday (Tuesday Manila time).As it often is with the NBA, Christmas is about the players more than the teams.Carter was that kind of player who NBA fans couldn’t get enough of early in his career, before every game was on League Pass and highlights all over the internet. He’d have been the perfect player to get on Christmas but the league only played two or three games back then, and his Toronto Raptors were only shown once.“We were fun to watch,” Carter said. “We wanted that opportunity.”Now this is the 10th straight year of five games on Christmas, and with a third of the league playing, room is there for just about everybody fans want to pile in front of their TVs to watch.Well, almost everybody.Van Gundy was hoping for the Milwaukee Bucks and their gravity-ignoring Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.“They should just film a scrimmage of theirs then, because Giannis is so good that he deserves to have publicity on Christmas Day,” Van Gundy said.Maybe next year.As for this year, the holiday hoops smorgasbord includes something old, something new and a little something blue:center_img Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense View comments The schedule:New York hosts Philadelphia, getting its first Christmas game since 2001.The Warriors welcome the Cavaliers back to the place where they finished them off in Game 5 in June for their second championship in three years.Washington at Boston in the Celtics’ first home game on Christmas.Oklahoma City against Houston, a matchup of MVP Russell Westbrook and runner-up James Harden.Minnesota visiting the Lakers, two non-playoff teams who have acquired some of the best young talent in the league in recent drafts.Christmas was once a kickoff of sorts for the NBA, the first time a national audience paid attention to basketball with the football season winding down. ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who will work the Cavs-Warriors game, was among those who had said the NBA should consider starting its season at Christmas to get out from under the NFL’s shadow.Now it’s a celebration of the success the league is already enjoying. Combined viewership on ESPN and TNT is up 21 percent this season, with games averaging 1.9 million viewers, even before what figures to be the biggest numbers of the season.ESPN said its audience is the second-highest it’s ever had at this point behind 2010-11, James’ first season in Miami, and Van Gundy said he’s even a little surprised.“I don’t know what it speaks to, but we do have a bunch of really good, young players,” Van Gundy said. “We have a dynasty in the making in Golden State, we have a team trying to challenge them in their own conference, or a couple teams in San Antonio and Houston, and LeBron is still rolling.”ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more