NBA stars in Philippines
The Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers are in the Philippines to treat fans to the first NBA game in the basketball-crazy nation. Both teams flew in early yesterday ahead of the NBA’s preseason Global Games in the Philippines on Thursday evening. Basketball is the country’s most popular sport and the NBA game has created a buzz on social media and radio and TV, with tickets going on sale months in advance. “We’re just excited to come over to play the game and give Filipinos a great show,” Houston Rockets guard James Harden said. The Rockets squad for the games in the Philippines and then Taiwan includes Jeremy Lin, the league’s first US-born player of Taiwanese descent. The Indiana Pacers roster features Danny Granger and NBA All-Stars Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and David West. Organizers said the game is part of the NBA’s comprehensive global schedule that will have eight teams play in eight cities in six countries this month. After Manila, the Rockets and Pacers play in Taipei on Sunday.
Puma banned for stamping
Argentina scrumhalf Martin Landajo has been banned for a week for stamping after he was cited following the Pumas defeat by Australia in the Rugby Championship in Rosario on Saturday. Landajo planted his foot into a ruck repeatedly in full view of referee Wayne Barnes, but received only a penalty for a tackle infringement and a caution despite the incident being scrutinized by the television match official. The citing commissioner later deemed the incident had met the red card threshold for foul play and it was referred to a hearing. “This was a reckless attempt by Landajo to free up the ball in the back of the ruck, resulting in him making contact with his boot on the hands of two Australian players,” judicial officer Nigel Hampton said in a media release yesterday. “This was a lower end offence and, given the early guilty plea, Landajo’s contrition and his good playing record, appropriately could be dealt with by a one week suspension.”
Spain call up Michu
Swansea City forward Michu has been called into the Spain squad for next week’s World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia after David Villa was forced to pull out due to arthritis in his left ankle. It is a first ever international call up for Michu, who has scored five times for the Welsh side this season following an incredible debut campaign in the Premier League with 22 goals last season. Villa, who is Spain’s all-time leading international scorer, was forced off just before the hour mark of Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 win over RC Celta de Vigo on Sunday. “The Asturian player is suffering from arthritis in his left ankle, the medical services of the Spanish Football Federation [RFEF] have been informed, which will make his presence in the squad managed by Vicente del Bosque impossible,” the RFEF said in a statement.
Treve wins Arc de Triomphe
Treve put on an impressive burst of speed in the final straight to outclass the field and win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by five lengths on Sunday. Race favorite Orfevre beat Intello by a neck to take second place in the world’s richest turf contest. Treve overcame a difficult draw, breaking from stall 15. The three-year-old French filly ran most of the race on the outside and hardly seemed in contention at the halfway stage, stuck in 14th place. However, she made her move about 600m from home to take the lead and then pulled away in the final straight.