TNT books a spot in the PBA Philippine Cup finals

The TNT Tropang Giga advanced to the finals of the PBA Philippine Cup
after beating the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 91-81, in their semifinal rubber match on Friday. — (PBA Images)

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo

The TNT Tropang Giga booked a spot in the finals of the PBA Philippine Cup following their 91-81 victory over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in their semifinal rubber match on Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.

The steadier team throughout the match, TNT frustrated Phoenix on its way to barging into the championship of the Philippine Basketball Association All-Filipino Cup, where it was last in seven years ago.

Ray Parks Jr. led the way for the Tropang Giga in the win, churning out all-around numbers of 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The contest got off to a competitive start, with the teams knotted at 10-all midway into the opening quarter, before TNT sprinted to build a 25-20 lead at the end of the first 12 minutes.

In the second quarter, offense tapered off a bit as defense was stepped up by both ends.

The score was at 40-34, in favor of the Tropang Giga, at the halftime break.

Phoenix tried to make its move in the third period, led by Calvin Abueva, but still found the going tough with TNT ready for everything its opponent threw en route to padding its lead to nine points, 62-53, heading into the final canto.

The Tropang Giga went for the jugular early in the fourth quarter, stretching their advantage to 16 points, 83-67, with 3:26 to go.

The Fuel Masters tried to make a last-ditch attempt to salvage the victory after, but could only come to within eight points, 89-81, with 32 seconds to go before TNT went to close things out.

Guard Simon Enciso finished with 12 points to backstop Mr. Parks, with Roger Pogoy, Jayson Castro and Jay Washington each adding 11 markers.

For Phoenix, who came just a win away from making its first-ever PBA finals appearance, it was Mr. Abueva who led with 23 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.

Matthew Wright had 13 points with Jason Perkins tallying 11 points and 11 boards. TNT was awaiting its opponent in the finals between the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and Meralco Bolts, who were to play in their own semifinal winner-take-all later on Friday.

The best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals begin on Sunday, Nov. 29.

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Koolhof and Mektic claim ATP Finals doubles title

Tennis – ATP Finals – The O2, London, Britain – November 22, 2020 Netherlands’ Wesley Koolhof and Croatia’s Nikola Mektic celebrate with the trophy after winning their doubles final match against Austria’s Jurgen Melzer and France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

November 22, 2020

LONDON (Reuters) – Dutch-Croatian duo Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic claimed their first title together by winning the ATP Finals on Sunday, edging Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2 3-6 10-5.

The fifth seeds, in their maiden season together, had lost in their other two finals, including at the U.S. Open, but it proved a case of third time lucky.

“It was a dream come true just to have qualified here for this event,” Koolhof, the fourth Dutchman to win the doubles title at the season-ender, said.

“It’s our first title together. Not bad for a first one,” Mektic said.

Austrian Melzer, a former top-10 singles player who is retiring, had hoped to end his career on a high.

“It was a hell of a ride,” the 39-year-old said. “We have been fighting hard since Roland Garros, played almost every week to get here. It stings today, and it hurts, but in the end we’re going to look back at being runners-up here.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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WBBL 2020: Alyssa Healy innings, Sixers vs Stars, result, record score, Big Bash news, WBBL finals

Sixers star Alyssa Healy has gone completely nuts in the WBBL in a record-breaking pyrotechnic display.

Needing a miracle to pull the Sixers into the WBBL Finals when she walked to the crease to chase the Melbourne Stars’ innings of 178 from 19 overs, Healy went to work in spectacular fashion.

The 30-year-old smashed the fourth-fastest century in the history of the WBBL, reaching her hundred from just 48 balls at North Sydney Oval.

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Alyssa Healy century not enough to help Sydney Sixers into WBBL finals

Healy said her side had been “found out a few times” during the course of the season but would learn from their mistakes next year. The Sixers started off the season strongly, but were unable to rebuild quick enough in the face of five-straight losses.

“I think it just shows how consistent you need to be in this WBBL to be at the top of the table,” Healy said. “The teams are so well-matched, there is no easy games out there. It’s getting harder and harder every year -if you’re not consistent, you’re not going to be at the top of that leaderboard.”

Healy’s performance ensured the Sixers went out with a bang – with the 30-year-old claiming a century of 48 balls. Credit:Getty

Healy’s performance ensured the Sixers went out with a bang. Healy’s husband, Test quick Mitchell Starc, clapped on the sidelines as Healy posted the third fastest ton in WBBL history and the tenth fastest in any women’s T20 match.

Dismissed for 111 off 52 balls, Healy was also frustratingly close to the highest ever score in WBBL history, set by teammate Ash Gardner who reached 114 in 2017. The century was Healy’s fourth in the WBBL – with no other player in the tournament having more than two.

Despite the relatively underwhelming performance, Perry managed to claim a record of her own, becoming the second batter in WBBL history to score 3,000 runs. Beth Mooney became the first batter to pass the milestone on Saturday.

In yet another blow for the Sixers on Sunday, Cricket Australia announced mid-game they would be handing the team a $25,000 fine following an “administrative error” during Saturday’s clash against the Melbourne Renegades.


Fast bowler Hayley Silver-Holmes had recently recovered from a foot injury and was set to make her return during the must-win game – but the comeback had not yet been formally approved by Big Bash officials.

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ATP Finals 2020: Daniil Medvedev beats Rafael Nadal & Dominic Thiem overcomes Novak Djokovic

Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: 22 November Time: 18:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and mobile app; follow BBC live text commentary online.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were knocked out of the ATP Finals as Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem set up a title decider.

World number two Nadal served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Russia’s Medvedev hit back brilliantly to win 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in London.

He was the more aggressive player throughout and was composed in the decider as errors came from Nadal.

Earlier, Thiem beat world number one Djokovic 7-5 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-5).

The Austrian trusted his big hitting and fought back from a 4-0 deficit in the deciding third-set tie-break to win in almost three hours.

Unlike Thiem, Medvedev, who had never beaten Nadal, is unbeaten throughout the week at the O2 Arena.

Neither man has won the season-ending event before but Thiem will start Sunday’s final as the narrow favourite, having won his first Grand Slam at the US Open in September.

Were world number four Medvedev to win, it would be the biggest victory of his career.

For 20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, defeat ended his hopes of winning the tournament – one of the few prizes missing from his glittering CV – for the first time.

Medvedev outlasts Nadal on day for the next generation

It has been the burning question in men’s tennis in recent years; when will the next generation replace Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer at the top of the game? There have been many false dawns, and this may be another, but Medvedev and Thiem were deserving winners.

Medvedev dictated against Nadal, hitting 42 winners to the Spaniard’s 30 in his unconventional style.

The 24-year-old Russian set the early pace, creating opportunities on Nadal’s serve and breezing through his own service games, only for his level to drop in the seventh game, allowing Nadal to make the pivotal break.

Medvedev did not panic and when Nadal’s level dropped at the beginning of the second – an unforced error and a double fault gifted a break – he raced into a 4-1 lead in 15 minutes.

Medvedev then saw his lead wiped out as Nadal roared back but with the Spaniard champion serving for the set, Medvedev cut loose and played a near perfect return game to get back on terms.

Medvedev won the second-set tie-break – helped by a crucial framed forehand that lobbed Nadal – and in the decider he was the player applying all of the pressure.

Nadal’s movement and power of shot slowed and after fighting off three breaks points, he could not deny the Russian a fourth time when he put away a smash at the net.

At that point the fight seemed to drain from Nadal and, serving to stay in the match, he double-faulted before hitting a forehand into the net on match point.

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Increased belief helps Thiem rally

Thiem, 27, has stepped up in recent months, winning his maiden Slam and producing some of the best tennis this week in London.

Against Djokovic, his belief in his shot-making and ability to play the big shot at the right moment proved pivotal.

He double-faulted on the opening point of the deciding tie-break and Djokovic raced into the lead before Thiem sliced his way back into contention.

A fifth match point was cancelled out by a Djokovic ace but Thiem’s relentless backhand that hugged the baseline was key to his victory.

Djokovic has not been at his best in London and he cut a frustrated figure throughout the decider, letting out a furious yell when he sent an easy return of serve long at 30-30 on the Thiem serve in the third.

His groundstrokes were simply not as consistently composed as usual and his repeated moves to the net did not work.

Usually, a 4-0 lead in a tie-break for Djokovic would mean game over. Instead, he was out-hit and out-thought by his opponent.

“What he did from 0-4 in the third-set tie-breaker was just unreal. I don’t think I played bad. I made all of my first serves. He just crushed the ball,” said Djokovic, who had been chasing a record-equalling sixth title.

“I was in a driver’s position at 4-0. I thought I was very close to winning it. He just took it away from me. But he deserved it, because he just went for it and everything worked.”

Despite the loss, Djokovic finishes the year as world number one, having lost just five matches in 2020, and will now prepare to defend his Australian Open title in January.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

No-one has managed to beat both Nadal and Djokovic at the ATP Finals since 2010.

Now Medvedev and Thiem have done it in the same year, and even beaten them together on the same day.

The next generation are consistently having more success against them on the ATP Tour.

Although that success has not yet translated to the Grand Slams in quite the same way, perhaps next year will be the year.

Like the semi-finals, the final could be very tight.

While Thiem is threatening to become the hardest man to beat on tour, Medvedev is brimming with confidence after recording nine November wins in a row.

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Shabnim Ismail propels Sydney Thunder into finals

“We are really chuffed and positive going into the finals,” Ismail said after the match.

“This season has been really challenging … for the team, we have a lot of people mention why do we have such a young team?

South African fast bowler Shabnim Ismail finished the Thunder’s fielding innings with figures of 3-10, marking the third most economical four overs bowled for the side in WBBL history.Credit:Getty

“But I think the pipeline that we have and the answers coming through just shows what kind of character and what kind of depth we have.”

Ismail managed 19 dot balls during her four overs – the most by a Thunder bowler in WBBL history.

At one stage, Ismail’s speed proved dangerous as Sasha Moloney received a bouncer to the head. Luckily, the star batter was left uninjured and continued in the middle.

The speedster’s effort handed the Hurricanes a horror start, falling to 3-4 at one point.

Post-match the 32-year-old said the early onslaught was planned by the side.

“We spoke about being ruthless within the first six in the game,” she said, “I think we’ve done that really today … we put them on the back foot which put us in the front seat.”

But the early wickets managed to scare Rachel Priest and Moloney into action, with the duo able to build a partnership to redeem their side’s innings.


Priest was later dismissed for 32 before Moloney (39) was also sent to the sheds, and while the Hurricanes couldn’t build a big total, they finished with a competitive 115 from their 20 overs.

The Thunder’s batters chased down the target steadily and calmly, however, with Tammy Beaumont (22), Rachel Trenaman (16) and Heather Knight (25) all contributing.

Seventeen-year-old Phoebe Litchfield (25) also proved she is able to step up when required, keeping calm in the back end of the Thunder’s batting innings to take her side into the finals.

The Thunder win means the Sydney Sixers will now be relying on an unlikely loss from the Perth Scorchers.

“We’ve got a great batting line-up and a great bowling line=up, it’s just for us to go out there believing in ourselves and just executing those skills the best that we can,” Ismail said of heading into the semi-finals.

“We would love to keep the momentum on our side … we want to put our best foot forward.”

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ATP Finals 2020: Caroline Whitaker falls off stage video

Kudos to Caroline Whitaker for sharing a moment that wasn’t broadcast live, because her tumble at the ATP Finals needed to be seen by the world.

The sports presenter was doing a trial run of her introduction of a blockbuster slate of semi-final matches on Sunday morning featuring the top four ranked men’s players in the world.

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The clip Whitaker shared showed her talking about some of the memorable last four matches that have been witnessed at the season-ending tournament, which is being held in London for the 12th and final time this year before moving to Turin in Italy from 2021-25.

“Today we’ll see the world’s best, the top f …” she said, before rolling an ankle and crashing to the ground.

“Yes I’m OK by way,” she tweeted, after posting the vision. “And no we weren’t live.”

Tennis fans were treated again once the action began on court as Dominic Thiem recovered from squandering four match points in a dramatic second-set tie-break to beat Novak Djokovic in three pulsating sets.

The Austrian third seed’s 7-5 6-7 (10/12) 7-6 (7/5) win ended Djokovic’s hopes of equalling Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the elite eight-man event.

The US Open champion will face either Rafael Nadal or Daniil Medvedev in Monday’s final as he chases the second-biggest title of his career.

The 2019 runner-up, who forced the only break in the first set, faced an uphill battle psychologically after his missed chances in the second-set tie-break.

But he was quickly back in the groove and held his nerve to rally from 4-0 down in the final-set tie-break, winning six successive points to earn two match points and taking the second of those.

“It was for sure a mental battle,” said Thiem. “I got so tight in the second-set tie-break, first of all because to play these legends is always going to be something special.

“And then playing for a final here at the ATP Finals is also something very special. I thought after my first big title in New York maybe I’m going to be a little bit more calm but that was a mistake I guess.

“I was just as tight and nervous as before and it was so much on the edge, the match … I’m incredibly happy to be through.”

Thiem took time to settle at the start of the match, hitting a number of unforced errors, but found his rhythm and his single-handed backhand became an important weapon as the match wore on.

But he looked down and out at 4-0 down in the final-set tie-break before rallying impressively, winning six points in a row before converting his sixth match point with a powerful forehand approach shot.

Thiem is only the second player in 2020 to win a tie-break against Djokovic, who entered the third-set decider with a 15-1 tie-break record this season.

The Austrian has lifted himself into the top echelon of the men’s game, reaching the Australian Open final this year, where he lost to Djokovic, before his triumph at Flushing Meadows in September.

Second-seed Nadal, seeking his first title at the ATP Finals, plays world number four Medvedev in Sunday’s evening match.

– with AFP

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ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic beats Alexander Zverev to make semi-finals

Novak Djokovic has won the ATP Finals title on five previous occasions
Venue: O2 Arena, London Date: 15-22 November
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and mobile app; follow BBC radio and live text commentary online on selected matches

Novak Djokovic moved past Alexander Zverev in straight sets to reach the last four of the ATP Finals.

The Serb world number one beat German Zverev 6-3 7-6 (7-4) at the O2 Arena in London.

Djokovic, seeking his sixth title at the end-of-season tournament, was pushed much more in the second set but raised his level at the crucial time in the tie-break.

He will play Dominic Thiem in the last four on Saturday at 14:00 GMT.

That match is live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

US Open champion Thiem progressed as winner of Group London 2020 with Djokovic going through in second position in Group Tokyo 2020.

The other semi-final is between Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, who first plays a dead rubber against Diego Schwartzman at 20:00 GMT on Friday.

More to follow

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NRL 2020, Gold Coast Titans: David Fifita wants premiership, deep finals run

David Fifita isn’t aiming low in his first season as a Titan.

Having ventured south from the Broncos, the 20-year-old is confident his first season on the Gold Coast will be a fruitful one.

“That’s the goal next year – top eight, top four,” Fifita told reporters. “Hopefully we’ll do that next year. I know myself and the boys will train hard for the pre-season.”

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And he’s not interested in simply achieving a deep finals run with the Titans either.

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ATP Finals 2020: Dominic Thiem loses to Andrey Rublev in London

Rublev has enjoyed an excellent 2020, having won five ATP titles and climbed to a career-high eighth in the world rankings

Russian debutant Andrey Rublev earned his first ATP Finals victory in a dead rubber against Austrian third seed Dominic Thiem, who was already assured of his place in the semi-finals.

US Open champion Thiem, 27, could not recover from a slow start as Rublev won 6-2 7-5 at the O2 Arena in London.

Thiem reached the last four by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal.

Tsitsipas and Nadal meet in a straight fight for the other spot from Group London 2020 at 20:00 GMT on Thursday.

Whoever wins between Spanish second seed Nadal and Greece’s defending champion Tsitsipas will progress alongside Thiem.

Nadal, 34, is bidding for a first ATP Finals title, while 23-year-old Tsitsipas is aiming to become the first player to win back-to-back singles titles since Novak Djokovic in 2015.

Thiem was beaten by the Greek in the final 12 months ago and showed his intentions of going one step further this year – in the event’s farewell to London – with high-quality wins over Tsitsipas and Nadal.

However, the Austrian was unable to find the same level as Rublev, 23, broke serve twice in each set in an attacking performance.

Thiem will find out on Friday if he plays Serbia’s world number one Djokovic or Germany’s 2018 champion Alexander Zverev in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Nadal or Tsitsipas know their opponent will be Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev, who clinched top spot in Group Tokyo 1970 by beating Djokovic on Wednesday.

How they stand

Matches won-lostSets won-lostGames won-lost
1. Dominic Thiem [Q]2-14-338-40
2. Andrey Rublev1-23-433-36
3. Rafael Nadal1-12-224-21
4. Stefanos Tsitsipas1-13-332-30

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