What’s behind the display of Chinese flag in Boracay? LATEST STORIES View comments To many, it looked like Creamline was head and shoulders above the competition in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference and that a championship was virtually preordained.Don’t tell that to the backbone of the Cool Smashers’ offense.ADVERTISEMENT It’s bust for SMB sans Wells Setter Jia Morado said the road to the sweep was filled with obstacles.“But we really made it a point to power through and be there for each other and trust our whole coach staff,” she said.Conference Most Valuable Player Jema Galanza said what the people didn’t see was the perseverance that the team showed, especially under the watch of coach Tai Bundit, who is known to be very stringent when it comes to drills and fitness routines.“We experienced much hardships and sacrifices this conference, there were a lot of stories behind the scene,” said Galanza, who said the players had to be up 5 a.m. for the 6 a.m. grind every single day.ADVERTISEMENT Alyssa Valdez swore that the team’s championship romp late Saturday night, when it blanked PetroGazz in the finale to complete a record sweep of the conference, was far from the smooth run Creamline made it look like.“We went through a lot of struggles and challenges this conference,” said Valdez who scored 19 points in Creamline’s 29-27, 25-22, 27-25 win over PetroGazz in Game 2.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSSan Miguel suspends Santos, Nabong, Tubid indefinitely after ‘tussle’ in practiceValdez missed five games in the long, double-round conference but the Cool Smashers still managed to win all 20 matches all the way to the title.“Me personally, I was out a few games and I saw how my teammates stepped up. That’s where I saw our full potential,” said Valdez, who had to divide her time between Creamline and the national team preparing for the Southeast Asian Games. Duterte officials’ paranoia is ‘singularly myopic’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ MOST READ Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue Priority legislation in the 18th Congress Rice industry paralysis Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014?
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 2 Comments Share A good BakerFor the entire story on Budda Baker’s impressive opening effort, click here.Badger looks backWe all know what Tyrann Mathieu can do when he’s healthy.These days, he looks healthy.Arians said he stood out in Saturday’s practice, in which he recorded a pick-six. It was just another in a growing list of days where the Honey Badger is seen making plays all over the field.“Every day he’s starting to get an interception, so yeah, he’s getting his hands on balls but I want to see it in games,” Arians said.The coach will not caution Mathieu against overdoing it in practice in fear of injury because, as Arians said, thinking of getting hurt will lead to exactly that.But rest assured, the hope is Mathieu will remain healthy because of what he does for the defense.“Yeah, it’s what you’re looking for,” Arians said. “He was defensive player of the year before he got hurt (in 2015). We’re looking for that back.”Robert Nkemdiche appears to be stepping upAfter a lost rookie season, it appears DL Robert Nkemdiche may be ready to take a step forward as a second-year pro. Craig Grialou has the story here.Getting in (better) shape Arizona Cardinals running back Elijhaa Penny (35) celebrates his touchdown with Brittan Golden (10) and J.J. Nelson (14) as linebacker Gabe Martin (50) kneels on the ground during an NFL football training camp Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “That’s more Steve’s (Keim) concern,” Arians said.Follow Adam Green on Twitter GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals played the first of five preseason games Thursday, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 20-18.They had the following Friday off, but returned to the field over the weekend with a pair of practices that were closed to the public.Saturday morning’s session was held outside on a field adjacent to University of Phoenix Stadium, whereas Sunday’s was back in their normal cool confines. Fitz at the Hall of Fame (not for the last time)Larry Fitzgerald was in Canton to see former teammate Kurt Warner get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For that story, click here.Movement at cornerThe race is not over yet, but there is a leader.“Justin (Bethel) is ahead now,” Arians said. “I thought Brandon (Williams) fought his tail off (Thursday). He gave up one but he got an interception. The rest of the guys — Tramon (Williams) looks really good in practice so far. It’s going to pan itself out pretty good.”What can Brown do for you?Two years ago, John Brown topped the 1,000-yard mark and looked like one of the game’s better young receivers.It has been a struggle for him to stay on the field ever since, and after heading into training camp as healthy as he had been in a while, to have him out with a hamstring injury for as long as they have is disappointing.“Yeah, it’s a shame because he was really getting better,” Arians said. “Hopefully it’s gone and he can finish out the rest of the preseason.”If Brown returns on Tuesday like Arians expects, he will have plenty of time to get back into the swing of things and be ready for the opener. Still, it would seem to be a concern that for whatever reason, Brown — who also missed the end of minicamp — has been unable to stay on the field. While there is not much we can report on from the practices (the only part that is “open” to the media usually involves basic drills and nothing of any real note), here are some highlights from the weekend.Roster notesMissing Sunday’s practice were WR John Brown (quad), $LB Deone Bucannon (ankle), LB Philip Wheeler, LT D.J. Humphries (hamstring), WR Aaron Dobson (hamstring), DL Frostee Rucker (day off) and LB Jarvis Jones (back).Arians said Saturday Bucannon is on track with his rehab, and could be ready for Week 1. He said Sunday they expect to have Brown back this week, while Humphries’ issue is minor.Preseason Game No. 2Bruce Arians said Saturday that his team’s starters would be on the field for about 15 plays Saturday against the Raiders, and on Sunday he was asked to be more specific with regards to his quarterbacks.Starter Carson Palmer will start the game, but, “Drew (Stanton) will take the second quarter and Blaine (Gabbert) will take the rest of the game,” the coach said.Gabbert was good in the opener, thoughPlenty of eyes were on the seventh-year pro in his debut with the Cardinals, and the QB was fairly impressive in his one half of action. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Against mostly second and third-string players, Gabbert completed 11-of-14 passes for 185 yards, capably moving the Cardinals down the field with accurate and timely throws.“They were probably second-stringers,” Arians said. “With the guys he was playing with, they were our seconds against their seconds. When you play good, you play good. I don’t care who it’s against. I don’t think it matters who was out there. He was throwing to the right guys and those were big-time throws.”Arians was pleased with a variety of things the former No. 10 overall pick did.“His poise mostly. His accuracy. I thought his accuracy was outstanding because those balls over the middle were not primary receivers,” he said. “It was a really good throw to Brit (Golden) with tight coverage; and to Troy (Niklas). Just his overall poise and the only negative play was that third-down play.”Gabbert is not competing to start for the Cardinals, but there is some thought to the idea that he could push for the No. 2 job with a strong preseason. Arians seemed to throw some cold water on that idea, however, saying that yeah, he is competing for the job, but has a long way to go since Stanton knows the offense so well. Chad Williams was not necessarily expected to make a huge impact as a rookie, but still, the third-round pick out of Grambling is someone people are looking forward to seeing progress.He caught one pass for 19 yards in the Hall of Fame Game and will now be in the mix to return kicks for the team, but before he can really make an impact, Arians believes he’ll have to get in better shape.“He can get in better shape,” the coach said of the 6-foot-1, 204-pound receiver. “He’s a gunner so he’s covering about 20 punts before we start practice and then he gets gassed real quick; then it affects him mentally.”Williams is not exactly in poor shape, but after a practice like Saturday’s, which was outside in the heat, he certainly understands he has work to do.“It’s so hot out there,” he said. “You’ve got to pump fluids; you can’t be down on fluids. It’s already burning up, then you put on nine pounds of pads. you have to be conscious of your body and how your body works.“It’s just one thing about being hydrated and focused out there on your body, because if you don’t it will get the best of you.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact