Stop ‘dissing’ the local players

first_imgAs the momentum begins to gather ahead of the semi-final round of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying, the perennial and ever-revolving debate about the disdain for local-based players and the converse obsession with foreign-born players for the senior Reggae Boyz team continues. Jamaica Football Federation President Captain Horace Burrell was at it again last week travelling to England to try and convince more players to join the squad heading into the semi-final group of death fixtures involving Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti. The thinking remains for the captain and all the recent coaches of the national senior team: the more foreigners, the better the team. The obvious inference is that players in the second or third tier of English football or players in the abstract leagues of Scandinavia, or even in the American Major League Soccer and its supporting leagues are automatically and significantly of superior quality to all players playing locally. This, to my mind, represents a disrespect of local football generally, and commensurate dissing of the local players. Chairman of the Harbour View Football Club Carvel Stewart, who has held firm to his conviction on this issue, stated again last week that Jamaica would not make it back to the World Cup Finals until a local-based core of players is established as part of the senior squad. While agreeing with the general sentiments of Mr Stewart, my wording would be different. My sentiments are, until the delicate balance between the number of foreign-born players and the number of local-based players is struck, Jamaica will struggle to get back to the World Cup Finals. At the moment, instead of a delicate balance being struck, there is a distinct bias at work. It might turn out to be a “curse in disguise” for the long-term development of the national football programme that Jamaica performed so well in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. What that string of performances has provided is a “false vindication” for “more foreigners policy”. What is fast becoming my “pipe dream” is for that elusive right balance to be found – not a sharp swing from one extreme to the other extreme, where it’s either what we have now or the practice of playing a group of local-based players exclusively to look at them and ask them to prove themselves. That strikes me as a ploy to ensure that the local- based players fail, ensuring it’s business as usual and another scamper or two or three up to England to try and convince some more unwilling players to “try Jamaica”. Impractical solution Mr Stewart and others have proposed the formation of a local-based squad to be kept in training. I think that suggestion has actually outlived its practicality since the majority of the best players are based overseas. It is highly unlikely that Jamaica will be able to afford the luxury of playing a full local team on a consistent basis. Therefore, middle ground should be found. There are local-based players who can make at least the Jamaican squad on merit if they are given a fair chance. Kemar ‘Taxi’ Lawrence and Hughan Grey are testament to that. They got a chance, grabbed it. It would be great to see players like Dino Williams or Allen Ottey from Montego Bay United get some significant playing time with a full-strength team around them. Same for players like Ricardo Morris from Portmore United, or Vishunal Harris from Arnett Gardens, or Chevonne Marsh from Cavalier, or any other promising young local-based player as identified by the coaching staff. Keep them in and around the team and manage their development. My theory, however, hinges on the technical leadership of the football, having faith in the talent and potential of these local-based players. Sadly, that faith is non-existent at the moment.last_img read more

Young Jamaican swimmer making waves in Florida

first_imgYoung Jesse Marsh’s national 13-14 age group 100 metres butterfly record, set at the long course time trial at the SPEEDO Winter Juniors in Atlanta, United States, last weekend, is causing a buzz in the local swimming fraternity. The Florida-based St Andrew’s student lowered the previous mark of 59.27 seconds to 58.49 and became the first local 13-14 age group swimmer to go below the 59 seconds marker. Jesse’s father and former Swim Jamaica vice-president, Allan Roy Marsh, described the young swimmer’s achievement as surprising, noting that Jesse did not practise the 100 butterfly since July, and has basically been competing on his own. “To some extent, it was (surprising). He has been working hard and working consistently. What was surprising is that he was able to go to the US junior nationals in Atlanta the week before and break the butterfly record, improving his time by a second-and-a-half. “That was surprising, because it was such a big meet, and he was not at his best. But he has been putting in the work, and we are happy,” he told The Gleaner. GREAT POTENTIAL “We knew he had the potential to do it, and he basically swam the race by himself and on the last day of the meet. This was the first butterfly he had competed in the long course pool since July, so he wasn’t in practice for it, but he was able to carry his condition in from his training,” he continued. Marsh has been getting rave reviews from local swimming experts, who are hailing him as the next big thing from the pool. But his father is not so sure just now. He wants the young swimmer to develop and take things in stride. “There is a positive feedback because we do not have many national age group records, and there are people reacting very positive towards this. He trains consistently. The coaches admire his work ethic. Among his current coaches at St Andrew’s school in Boca Raton, Florida, is a former Jamaican swimmer, Ramon Walton. Walton says Jesse is very coachable and he works, and they told me he was the only swimmer who made every practice this high-school season. “This is something he loves to do, I never had to push him. I just gave him support, and I am very pleased (with this achievement). But it’s what he wants to do, because you can’t really predict the future of young age group swimmers. So many things can happen, so many distractions can take place. “So talent is only the beginning, work rate is what is important. The older the swimmer gets, his work ethic and being coachable are more important. Talent alone cannot take you to the highest level; you need work ethic and belief. But if you continue to work you will move up the ranks as you get older,” he stated.last_img read more

JAAA boss wants separate sports ministry

first_imgPresident of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Dr Warren Blake would like to see sport being given its own ministry, as well as the development of more regional sporting facilities, when the new government unfolds. Blake told The Gleaner that a separate ministry for sport would aid in the long-term planning and development of sports locally. “The importance of sports to Jamaica has really grown, especially over the last four years, it has grown tremendously and there are really lots of things that sports can do for this country,” Blake told The Gleaner at the G.C. Foster Classics at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport on Saturday. “Having a separate ministry for sports would help make this happen and it would help not only track and field, but all sports, so you could start to plan long-term for the development of the country,” he added. Dr Blake added that he would like to see more synthetic track and field surfaces being built across the island. The only all-weather tracks which exist currently in Jamaica are at the G.C. Foster College, the National Stadium, Stadium East, Calabar High School and the Montego Bay Sports Complex. “I would like to see the development of a number of mini-stadia across the island so that synthetic surfaces could be not only in Kingston and Montego Bay. There is none in the centre or the eastern end of the island, so we would like to see more synthetic surfaces placed across the island,” Blake said.last_img read more

VCB signs on as Kingston City Run Ambassador

first_imgKINGSTON:Olympian and track superstar Veronica Campbell-Brown is lending her star power as an ambassador for the fourth staging of the annual Kingston City Run.The annual event has seen participation from thousands of locals, including out-of-towners from all over the island and international racers from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Trinidad, Cayman, Barbados, Canada, and the United States – from states such as New York and Florida.”We are truly overwhelmed by the all-round, positive support we have received from our participants, volunteers and sponsors,” said Christopher Jarrett, co-chair, Kingston City Run Organising Committee.”We are especially honoured for the support being given by Veronica to not only promote the event, but raise the awareness of the plight on many of our most vulnerable citizens,” he explains.The Kingston City Run focuses on supporting charitable organisations that focus on eliminating the plight of homelessness through skills training, development, offering temporary housing, meals, and general care.AT-RISKYOUTHOur charities also work with youth at risk of taking the wrong path that could one day lead to homelessness.”When asked to lend my support to this cause, I did not hesitate,” stated Veronica Campbell-Brown. “No matter how strong we are, how much we have accomplished, we must always remember to help the least of us in times of need.””I fully support the work of the Kingston City Run organisation team for taking the bold steps for such a worthy cause. Last, but by no means least, having ventured into the run/walk arena myself, I fully believe in the [Kingston City Run’s] cause of promoting health and well-being,” she added.In addition to positioning Kingston as an attractive tourist destination, KCR organisers are looking to continue to make a big impact at home.As it has in the past, the event has once again partnered with a number of local charities in a bid to help the country’s homeless population. As a result of its various fundraising initiatives, Kingston City Run will be making contributions to the Marie Atkins Night Shelter, Open Arms Drop In Centre, Food For The Poor, Missionaries of the Poor, and the Alpha Institute (formerly Alpha Boys’ Home).last_img read more

SVL offers $500,000 in scholarships to netballers

first_imgKINGSTON:Deserving players and coaches in Netball Jamaica’s Major and Minor Leagues will be rewarded with scholarships and bursaries valued at $500,000, as titlesponsor Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) continues to incentivise high-quality perfor-mances in the nation’s most popular leagues.The announcement was made by Diahann Guy-Shepherd, sponsorship, promotions and branding manager at SVL, at the recent launch of the leagues at the National Indoor Sports Complex in Kingston.According to Guy-Shepherd, the scholarships will form part of SVL’s $4.5 million sponsorship of the leagues that it has been supporting for the past 15 years.A member of the winning team will be awarded a scholarship valued at $130,000, a player on the second-placed team will walk away with one worth $75,000, while a member of the team that finishes third will be afforded a $65,000 scholarship.For the minor leagues, scholarships valued at $110,000, $70,000 and $50,000 will be awarded to a member of the first, second and third-placed teams, respectively.”Coaches will also benefit from bursaries towards the pursuit of their netball coaching course, administered by the University of Technology on behalf of Netball Jamaica,” Guy-Shepherd disclosed.She said she is aware that the teams are ready for fierce competition, but urged players to play with the right spirit.”We know it will be three months of intense rivalry, but we expect that teams will display fair play in their behaviour on and off the court,” she said.In matches on Thursday, Mico ‘A’ defeated Alpha ‘A’ 45-26. Taniel Roberts (33/49), Stephanie Anderson (4/6) and Mischa Creary (8/16), scored for Mico, while Oberon Pitterson (10/17) and Suzanne Brown (16/23) scored for Alpha Shooters.Molynes United ‘A’ defeated UTech Knights 37-28. Shantal Slater (31/38) and Kera Christie (6/11) scored for Molynes, while Shenel Riley (9/17) and Khadijah Williams (19/26) netted for UTech Knights.Cable Pro beat Waulgrovians ‘B’ 63-25. Petal Smith drilled in (57/70), Shantel Swaby (4/11) and Tracy Robinson (2/4) for Cable Pro, while Simone Gordon (16/20) and Hasana Williams (9/10) were on target for Waulgrovians ‘B’.Speg ‘A’ defeated Jetsetters ‘A’ 44-36. Shimona Nelson (37/44), Diane Dricketts (4/5) and Crystal Grant (3/9) scored for Speg, while Antoinette Miller (11/21) and Zodi Green (25/33) scored for Jetsetters.The competition continues today with 20 matches, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Leila Robinson Courts.last_img read more

Kohli leads India chase in routine victory vs NZ

first_imgDHARAMSALA, India (AP):India scored 194-4 in 33.1 overs to chase down New Zealand’s paltry 190 and win the first one-day international by six wickets yesterday. Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 85, after debutant Hardik Pandya took 3-31, to help their side take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.Chasing 191, Rohit Sharma (14) and Ajinkya Rahane (33) got off to a comfortable start and put on 49 runs for the opening wicket. Sharma was trapped lbw by Doug Bracewell (1-44) in the 10th over.Rahane hit four fours and two sixes, as he took India past the 50-mark. But he wasted his start and was caught behind off James Neesham (1-40) in the 12th over.It was a similar story with Manish Pandey (17), who put on 40 runs for the third wicket with Kohli. His innings also ended with a loose shot, caught at midwicket off Ish Sodhi (1-34).Kohli brought up his 37th ODI half-century off 55 balls. He faced 81 balls overall and hit nine fours as well as a six.He put on 60 runs for the fourth wicket with skipper MS Dhoni (21). The duo looked like finishing the game off for India, when a miscue between them led to a Dhoni run-out in the 29th over.FANTASTIC PERFORMANCEKedar Jadhav (10 not out) then made sure there were no further hiccups and took his team to victory with 16.5 overs to spare.”It was a fantastic performance by the fast bowlers. We had no clue that the wicket would’ve helped them so much early on. Despite the small total, it was also good that I got to bat in the middle,” said Dhoni, who turned out for India for the first time since late August.For Pandya, his first ODI was extra sweet as he was handed his ODI cap by legendary Indian all-rounder, Kapil Dev. The youngster was dropped from India’s tour of Zimbabwe after poor performances in the 2016 World T20, but has now made his way back after impressing with India-A in Australia recently.”It is good to be back and I was a bit nervous. But I have been bowling a lot of late and therefore was able to bowl today with a good rhythm. The ball was doing something in the early overs,” said Pandya, after winning the Man-of-the-Match award on his debut.MAYHEMEarlier, the Black Caps lost a fourth consecutive toss of the tour and at one point were reduced to 65-7. Pandya caused mayhem in his opening spell, dismissing Martin Guptill (12), Corey Anderson (4) and Luk Ronchi (0).At the other end, Umesh Yadav (2-31) removed Kane Williamson (3) and Ross Taylor (0) off successive deliveries.Only Guptill and Taylor got out to good deliveries and the remaining New Zealand batsmen were guilty of playing loose shots. Kedar Jadhav (2-6) added to their misery when he dismissed James Neesham (10) and Mitchell Santner (0) off consecutive balls in the 19th over.”We needed to weather the early storm a little bit. It was tough to bat at the start with the ball moving a lot. They bowled some good spells and there were some soft dismissals too. It was disappointing with the bat today,” said New Zealand skipper Williamson.Tom Latham (79 not out) and Tim Southee (55) then scored half centuries, and helped their side escape from an embarrassing position. While Latham became the first New Zealand opener – and 10th overall in ODI history – to carry his bat through an innings, Southee hit his maiden 50 with six fours and three sixes.Amit Mishra (3-49) wiped out the tail to restrict the Black Caps in 43.5 overs.last_img read more

La Salle foils Pasaol, UE

first_imgMbala pumped in 39 points in 23 minutes, marking the third time this season that he reset a personal scoring high, while front court partner Tratter fired 24 points as the Archers pulled away early before surviving a late onslaught by the Warriors anchored by Pasaol, who scored 18 points in the final frame.While La Salle picked up its fifth win in six games ahead of its finals rematch with Ateneo on Sunday, it was Pasaol’s brilliance for the still winless Warriors that made what was an otherwise routine victory for the Archers even more memorable.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“He was just in the zone,” Mbala said of Pasaol, who shot 20-of-30 from the field.“He was shooting very well and we didn’t do a good job. Knowing that La Salle is a defensive minded team, we have to do better than that. We should have gotten him out of his comfort zone.” How to help the Taal evacuees University of the East coach Derrick Pumaren hopes the fighting performance against the Archers will serve as a “springboard” for the Warriors as they face fellow cellar-dweller University of Santo Tomas on Saturday.“This is the first time that even though we lost, I was really proud of the way we played,” said Pumaren.“The team that has been missing the past five games showed up. Alvin (Pasaol) was awesome tonight. He could have scored 60, but he really gave us a really good show.”“I wouldn’t have done it without my teammates’ help,” said Pasaol, who also had eight rebounds and four steals.Earlier, Sean Manganti scored on a putback with a second remaining as Adamson nipped University of the Philippines, 73-71, to gain a share of third spot with Far Eastern U.ADVERTISEMENT In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide NU, Adamson close in on PVL 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netNot even the highest individual scoring performance in recent memory was enough to stop La Salle from sustaining its winning run ahead of its showdown with fierce rival Ateneo in UAAP Season 80.University of the East forward Alvin Pasaol exploded for 49 points, but the Green Archers also drew career-best outputs from Ben Mbala and Abu Tratter in a 106-100 victory Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.ADVERTISEMENT Manganti’s tip-in off a Papi Sarr miss broke the deadlock and boosted the Falcons to their fourth victory in six games, while sending the Fighting Maroons to a second straight defeat for a 3-3 slate.“I guess we were lucky to win that game,” said Adamson coach Franz Pumaren. “I guess this is a good test on our part that in crucial moments of the game, we can survive.”Manganti also broke up the Maroons’ final play intended for Paul Desiderio as they collected their third straight victory.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene MOST READ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson View comments Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed DAY6 is for everybody LATEST STORIES It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacsonlast_img read more

Ginebra ousts TNT, faces Meralco in PBA Finals rematch

first_imgJustin Brownlee anchored Ginebra’s fourth-quarter surge to finish with 46 points, 10 rebounds, five assists to send the 11,891 in attendance, including legend Robert Jaworski, in jubilation.The Gin Kings’ relentless pursuit finally paid dividends in the fourth quarter as the Brownlee-led 24-8 charge coincided with the KaTropa’s shooting going ice cold, with TNT firing a paltry 2-of-20 clip in the first eight minutes of the period. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogGinebra, then, took a 104-94 lead with 4:07 left to play punctuated by a three from LA Tenorio before Greg Slaughter iced the game with a huge slam to give coach Tim Cone his 32nd finals appearance.“We were just fortunate that Glen Rice went out. But it was still a great game; they were making shots. It was quite a frustrating first half,” said Cone. How to help the Taal evacuees Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Ateneo’s Matt Nieto ‘relaxed’ amid pressure-packed moment 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 DAY6 is for everybody In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson “But our guys came collected in the second half and started playing like we do.”Tenorio chipped in 25 markers, seven assists, and four boards, Slaughter had 21 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks, and Sol Mercado added 11 markers, three boards, and three dimes in the Ginebra win.With its back against the wall, TNT came out like a house on fire as it established an early 16-point advantage, 35-19, courtesy of a three from Anthony Semerad.But that blaze was quickly doused after KaTropa reinforcement Glen Rice Jr. was ejected with 1:41 remaining in the opening frame after incurring a flagrant foul penalty one and a technical for throwing the ball to a fallen Kevin Ferrer.Though Jayson Castro kept TNT in the driver’s seat and put his team up by 18, 72-54 in the third quarter, Brownlee had other plans as the import commandeered Ginebra’s 28-point third quarter outburst to cut the KaTropa lead down to six, 86-80, at the end of the third quarter and set up the close finish.ADVERTISEMENT Justin Brownlee. PBA IMAGESDefending champion Barangay Ginebra gets a shot to defend its crown after dispatching TNT, 115-105, in Game 4 of their best-of-5 semifinals series in the PBA Governors’ Cup Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Gin Kings arranged a finals rematch with Meralco starting on Friday at Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES MOST READ View comments Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ The Gin Kings’ 18-point comeback was the biggest comeback in the playoffs in seven years, or since the franchise crawled back from 20-points down to upend Alaska in 2010-11 Philippine Cup quarterfinals.Troy Rosario topscored for TNT with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Castro carried the mantle with a near triple-double performance of 26 markers, nine assists, and seven boards in the losing effort.The scores:GINEBRA 115 – Brownlee 46, Tenorio 25, Slaughter 21, Mercado 11, Aguilar 6, Ferrer 4, Caguioa 2, Thompson 0, Devance 0.TNT 105 – Rosario 28, Castro 26, Pogoy 14, Semerad 12, Williams 10, Tautuaa 9, Reyes 4, Rice Jr. 2, Golla 0, Carey 0, Nuyles 0, Hernandez 0, Seigle 0.Quarters: 32-41, 52-66, 80-86, 115-105.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbedlast_img read more

Balkman gets ‘chance for ‘redemption’ with Alab stint

first_imgBrian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew “Five years to the day I did something that I regret and I learned a valuable lesson from it.”READ: Balkman returns to Philippine basketball as Alab import 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 folkBalkman was banned for life from the PBA after he shoved game officials and teammates Ronald Tubid and Arwind Santos when Petron faced Alaska on March 8, 2013.The former New York Knick then choked Santos in a heated display of frustration as the 2013 MVP tried to pacify the situation. Halep, Sharapova off to flying 2018 starts View comments Balkman puts negativity behind ahead of 2nd PBA stint with San Miguel PLAY LIST 00:48Balkman puts negativity behind ahead of 2nd PBA stint with San Miguel02:06Passengers bear waiting at terminal for chance to be home for Christmas00:50Trending 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 Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Puerto Rico’s forward Renaldo Balkman reacts during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships group B match Croatia vs Puerto Rico at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla on September 4, 2014. AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP PHOTO / CRISTINA QUICLERAs Renaldo Balkman looks to restart his career in Philippine basketball, the Puerto Rican international brings along lessons he learned five years ago when he was still in the PBA.“Thankful for another opportunity to do what I to do,” said Balkman, who will suit up for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League, in a message reposted by team owner Charlie Dy on his Instagram account.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina LATEST STORIES OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson MOST READ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson “Always remember to keep your composure and to be the best role model you can be, now I finally have a chance for redemption.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more

Cilic obstacle in way of Nadal’s semifinal quest

first_imgSpain’s Rafael Nadal hits a forehand return to Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)Rafael Nadal sees his quarterfinal showdown with big-match player Marin Cilic on Tuesday as the time to crank up his Australian Open offensive for Grand Slam number 17.The Spanish world No.1 has been in ominous form in the first week after coming into the year’s opening major tournament with knee concerns.ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Almazan vows to comeback stronger after finals heartbreak MOST READ “The match against Grigor in Brisbane wasn’t that long ago and I played well, he also played well,” Edmund said.“Of course, we can take things from that. There is a lot of things I did do well. Maybe a few things I could do better, and I will try and do that when I play him.” Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Michael Porter Jr. stays patient as playing time increases 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 Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina LATEST STORIES Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hourscenter_img Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue is BWAA 2019 Fight of the Year Nadal, who lost to Roger Federer in last year’s final, overcame tenacious Argentine Diego Schwartzman in a classic round of 16 encounter and will have to get past former US Open champion Cilic to reach the semi-finals.In Tuesday’s other quarter-final in the top half of the draw, Bulgaria’s world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov is up against British hope and 49th-ranked Kyle Edmund for a place in the last four. 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 folkNadal leads world No.6 Cilic 5-1 in career meetings, including a straight sets win over the Croat in the round of 16 in Melbourne in 2011.   “Now is the moment to make a step forward, to play again more aggressive,” Nadal said. “Generally throughout my career, I know that if I’m playing well, if I’m top of my game, that I can challenge most of the guys on the tour,” a confident Cilic said.“And with the win at the US Open I now believe in my own game, I believe in what I’m doing.“I think I’m moving the right direction. It’s obviously a big challenge, but that’s what we also work for at training.“My goal in this year is to win a Grand Slam. It’s a big challenge, but I’m improving every single year.”Extra gearDimitrov beat Edmund only two weeks ago in the quarter-finals at the Brisbane International, but he is prepared for another struggle after his monumental four-set victory over Australian Nick Kyrgios in the round of 16.“He’s gone this far. So for sure I need to be ready. There is no place to underestimate him or anything like that,” Dimitrov said.“I am finding that extra gear in every match and the main thing for me is to really focus on myself.”Edmund, the only British man in the draw after five-time finalist Andy Murray’s injury withdrawal before the tournament, is having his best run at a Grand Slam.He upset US Open finalist and 11th seed Kevin Anderson in the first round and followed up with wins over Denis Istomin, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Andreas Seppi. Top seed Simona Halep eases into last eight “I know I’m going to have a tough opponent with Cilic. I need to play aggressive and play well.”Nadal is respectful of the Croat’s abilities and is expecting another ding-dong struggle with last year’s Wimbledon finalist.“Marin will be a tough one, but at the same time, it’s a beautiful match to play against a great player,” he said.“We know each other. We’ve played a couple of times and I know I need to play well. I hope to be ready to make that happen.”Cilic has moved efficiently through the draw with wins over Vasek Pospisil, Joao Sousa, Ryan Harrison and Spanish 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.ADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Newsome sets focus on helping Bolts open new PBA season on right track Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more