Express, Ginebra score in PBA Philippine Cup

Updated 10 November 2012
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Express, Ginebra score in PBA Philippine Cup

Two teams that figured in a very intriguing trade just three days ago both got much-needed wins, with Air21 showing how much use Mike Cortez is for the Express right away, and Barangay Ginebra sticking with its old hands.
Cortez scored the Express’ final five points Friday night and keyed an 86-85 victory over Barako Bull, even as the Gin Kings snapped a five-game slide in the PBA Philippine Cup with its latest addition riding the bench at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The cat-quick Cortez finished with 24 points in 24 minutes, his longest exposure this season, after the Express gave up 6-foot-7 rookie Yousef Taha to the Kings, who didn’t see the need for him in an 81-79 decision of Globalport in the second game.
“You can’t write a better script than that,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said after Cortez knocked in the marginal long jumper with a shade under a minute left. “He turned things around for us. Like what I have been stressing, we have found the solution already, someone who can give us stability down the stretch.
“I want him (Cortez) to prove to himself that he is still one of the best point guards in the PBA,” Pumaren, who was Cortez’ college coach when La Salle dominated the UAAP, added. “The trade (with the Kings) will benefit both parties,” he continued. “We still have to work on our chemistry, you cannot fast track the chemistry of the team.” That trade could be beneficial for both, but it would take time before Ginebra would let anyone see how.
Mark Caguioa hit seven points in the fourth period, and Jay-Jay Helterbrand had six crucial markers in the stretch as the duo, together with Elmer Espiritu, worked hard for the Kings to negate Gary David’s explosive return to the Globalport lineup.
David scored 21 points in the fourth period, including the Batang Pier’s first 19 points inside the first 10 minutes, as he almost single handedly gifted Globalport with a win despite missing its last six games because of a knee injury.
Both the Express and the Kings improved to 3-5 in the standings, while Barako Bull dropped to 3-6 and the Batang Pier to 1-8 with a fourth straight loss.
And Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen was quick to point out that Taha would have to earn his spurs with the team.
“It’s going to be unfair for him (Taha) right now, with two days of practice, to put him in the fire,” Tanquingcen explained when asked why Taha didn’t even get a single minute on the floor.
“He’s in line with the direction of the team,” Tanquingcen added. “Admittedly, we have a hole in the middle, but it’s not instant. He can get accustomed (to the system) during the course of our practices.
“Taha is someone we will look to down the line. Slowly, he can somehow get there.” Caguioa finished with 19 points and LA Tenorio added 14 for the Kings, whose losing skid triggered nasty rumors about a shakeup in coaching staff, which Tanquingcen mildly hit in the post-game interview.
“We have to just keep trusting each other,” Tanquingcen said.


Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

Updated 23 April 2018
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Liverpool's Andrew Robertson ready for Roma Champions League test

  • Young Scottish star was very impressive during Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate destruction of Man City in last-eight clash.
  • Robertson refuses to take Roma lightly after their shock victory over Barcelona in the last round.

LIVERPOOL: With a desire stoked in the stands of Parkhead, Andrew Robertson is now fired up to fulfil a childhood dream.
While following the fortunes of Celtic, the defender’s first Champions League final memory was when Zinedine Zidane volleyed Real Madrid to success in 2002 as the contest was staged in Robertson’s home city of Glasgow. He was just eight years old.
While Robertson was deemed too small to play for his boyhood idols, released at 15 with a future uncertain, he has grown to prove his worth on Europe’s biggest club stage with Liverpool.
Now, with a semifinal encounter against AS Roma after beating Premier League champions Manchester City in the last eight, he wants to emulate those Reds heroes who lifted the trophy five times before.
“I was a big Celtic fan growing up and my heroes were Henrik Larsson and Co,” Robertson told Arab News ahead of tonight’s first-leg clash 
at Anfield.
“But these heroes who have won the European Cup and Champions League for Liverpool, you have to look up to them — and we want to emulate them and hopefully get a winner’s medal too.
“The club’s won it five times and the history of the club has always been this, the Champions League, where the fans create a special atmosphere and the club challenges for the trophy. It would be unbelievable to be a part of that history.
“This is the highlight for me so far and an incredible feeling, but it just makes you hungry for more. I don’t want it to end.
“As a kid, you sit back and watch how great it would be to play in this competition, let alone in the final.
“I always used to go to Celtic and we didn’t progress very far in the Champions League, but the occasions at Parkhead were always unbelievable.
“The fans at Celtic are incredible, world renowned, but Anfield was unbelievable against Man City and we have another chance for them to create that same atmosphere and hopefully we can put in another great performance.”
Having beaten Pep Guardiola’s City so convincingly, 5-1 over two gripping games, Liverpool will start favorites against Roma.
That is despite the Italians upsetting Barcelona in the previous round with an epic 3-0 win in the second leg after a 4-1 loss at the Nou Camp.
But Robertson will take nothing for granted against a Roma side who last reached the final in 1984 where they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout at their Stadio Olimpico home.
“Barca are an unbelievable team,” added the Scotland left-back, 24. “But let’s not kid ourselves. For Roma to score three goals against Barcelona, that’s special.
“They’ve been unbelievable this season too in the Champions League and deserve to be in the semifinals. It will definitely not be an easy game.
“But once you get to the semis, the fear of who you are playing has gone because you know how good the teams are.
“It’s like you look forward to the possibility of playing in the final, that’s what drives you forward. We will have fire in our bellies because we are so close to getting there.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men will no doubt be looking to Mohamed Salah to conjure more magic against the club he left in the summer for £36.9 million ($51.5 million).
But Robertson insisted Liverpool are no one-man team and the Egyptian, crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday night after scoring 41 goals in an unforgettable campaign, epitomizes a team united and ambitious in their quest for glory.
“He’s just unbelievable,” said Robertson of the frontman.
“In the first half (of the second leg) against Man City we struggled to get him in the game and he wasn’t quite at it. But the second half he was different class and pops up with a goal to help us win it. That’s what he does.
“His goals have been incredible and long may that continue. He’s a great guy, so humble, and for someone who has done so much this season he’s so down to Earth.
“That’s credit to our squad because we don’t let anyone get ahead of themselves.
“Mo is no different, he’s a lovely person and stands for what we are as a team.”

 

HEART OF GOLD

Five years ago Andrew Robertson was playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football with Queen’s Park and earning extra money by selling concert tickets in the corporate offices at Hampden Park.
Last summer he suffered relegation from the Premier League with Hull City before Liverpool signed him for £10 million ($13.9 million).
In a career fraught with setbacks and hardships, he has been grateful, supporting foodbanks that help those in need.
“It’s all about giving something back to the less fortunate,” said Robertson.
“I’m in a fortunate position where I do a job I love and get paid well and it’s nice to give something back, especially in my hometown. I’ll always do that.
“It’s been a great journey for me in my career, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. But I don’t forget where I came from. Maybe it is rare, but a lot more people are doing it now and I hope even more will.”