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Travel an extra grind for Division I’s smallest schools

first_imgIn this Jan. 5, 2018, photo, Northern Arizona basketball players Luke Avdalovic, Omar Ndiaye and Gino Littles leave the team hotel in Ogden, Utah to board a bus for their next game in Pocatello, Idaho. Unlike high-major programs that fly on charters and eat at nice restaurants, the Lumberjacks fly commercially and eat at chain restaurants to save money. (AP Photo/John Marshall)POCATELLO, Idaho — As the bus rolls past mileage signs for places like Malad City, Arimo and Woodruff, the long frames of Northern Arizona’s basketball players splay across the seats. Heads rest on makeshift pillows of jackets and backpacks, legs stretch across aisles, feet rise above headrests.Outside, flurries dance in the headlights as roadside reflectors flash like car turn signals. Yellow weed stalks, evidence of a recent thaw, peek through the white blanket along the highway.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Some have it easier than others.At the highest levels of Division I, buses park next to charter planes filled with spacious seats, teams’ schedules based on when the runway is open. Convenience affords efficiency: Practice at home, fly out in the evening, play the next day, head straight home.Travel at the low-major level can feel like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” All that’s missing is the train and Del Griffith.Charter flights are not within the smallest D-I schools’ budget, so commercial is the only way to go. That means long security lines and clock-watching gate waits, just for the opportunity to fold into seats barely big enough for averaged-sized humans.Six-foot-10 and a middle seat is like 5-9 squeezed into a toddler car seat.ADVERTISEMENT Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense 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 “I’m hurting for like two hours and when I get up, my knees finally get back to normal,” said Isaiah Thomas, NAU’s 6-9 junior forward. “It’s not enjoyable.”Nor is planning.The dilemma: Early-morning practice before flying out or a pre-sunrise departure to practice later at the destination? For the return, leave early on little sleep and rest later or sleep in and get back later?No matter how coaches work it, the players end up tired.“You have to factor it in,” Sacramento State coach Brian Katz said. “You try to convince your guys, you’re 19 years old, you shouldn’t get tired from anything. But in your mind you try to account for it because it’s a factor for sure.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparc Pockets of dense fog envelop the bus, visibility measured in yards for perilous moments before thankfully clearing.The players are oblivious to the cold world outside. Their only concern is finding comfort on this opening three-hour leg of a two-day return to Flagstaff, Arizona.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 folk“It’s pretty hard travel after a game,” NAU coach Jack Murphy said. “You want to get home, get the guys some rest on their day off, but it’s a long day of travel on their ‘day off.’”Travel is one of the most arduous aspects of college basketball. Hours upon hours every season are dedicated to getting to the next town, buses and planes essentially becoming players’ and coaches’ mobile second homes. Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals LATEST STORIEScenter_img Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours On Erik Spoelstra’s mind these days: A berth, and a birth Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Read Next OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal on collision course in semis at Indian Wells

first_imgTom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history “Playing against him for the first time on the big stadium of a great crowd here was for sure different feeling,” Hurkacz said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Roger Federer, of Switzerland, waves to fans after winning his quarterfinals match against Hubert Hurkacz, of Poland, at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Friday, March 15, 2019, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)INDIAN WELLS, California — It’s Federer vs. Nadal again, only this time it’ll be in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open.Roger Federer beat Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4 and Rafael Nadal got by Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) on Friday to set up the old rivals’ 39th career meeting and first in 16 months.ADVERTISEMENT “You look back at what I did well there, but you can’t just copy-paste and play exactly the same thing again,” Federer said.The other semifinal Saturday pairs Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem.Nadal improved to 6-0 against Khachanov, although it was tougher and longer than Federer’s win.Nadal trailed 6-5 before Khachanov’s forehand error forced the second tiebreaker, which Nadal dominated to close out the match that lasted just over two hours.“He’s unbelievable in defense,” Khachanov said. “When you want to try maybe just to play more safe then he suddenly steps in and he counterattacks. He steps in and then he starts moving you, and then you are again in trouble.”Federer believes Nadal is playing better than he did in losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic, who was upset earlier in the week.“When Rafa is healthy, especially in a place like here in Indian Wells where he feels comfortable, he’s clearly very tough to play,” Federer said.Against Hurkacz, Federer fought off two break points in the second set, including the last game when he closed the match with a forehand winner off a short ball.“Not that I didn’t expect it,” Federer said, “but it definitely went better than I thought it would.”Hurkacz, a 22-year-old Pole, earned three-set upsets of No. 28 Lucas Pouille, No. 6 Kei Nishikori and No. 24 Denis Shapovalov to make his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal against his childhood idol. Federer was playing in his 83rd at this level. 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 76ers get 3rd straight win to pull even at no. 3 in East playoff race Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Andreescu became the first wild-card to reach the Indian Wells final.“Another goal of mine was to make history, and I just did,” she said, smiling.Andreescu will play two-time major champion Angelique Kerber, who ended 23rd-seeded Belinda Bencic’s run of upsets with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.The 18-year-old Canadian’s run is reminiscent of Naomi Osaka’s path to last year’s title. Little-known at the time, Osaka used her Indian Wells victory as a launching pad to beating Serena Williams for the U.S. Open title and winning the Australian Open while becoming the world’s top-ranked player.“I’m actually shaking right now,” Andreescu told reporters. “It’s just so incredible.”Andreescu had break points against her in each of her last three service games.“It was so many emotions going through my head,” she said. “It was a crazy match. It was a roller coaster.”Svitolina had three break chances in the final game, but couldn’t convert. The Ukrainian also was bothered by her inflamed right knee.“I couldn’t allow myself to play 100 percent because my movement was not there,” she said.Federer is on a five-matching winning streak against Nadal, who lost to him all four times they played in 2017, including the last time at the Shanghai Masters in October of that year. Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief Nadal’s right knee flared up in the second set for the first time during the tournament. He called for a trainer who applied tape just below the knee. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.“My goal and my idea is be ready for tomorrow,” Nadal said. “I cannot guarantee how I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning.”Knee problems have dogged the 32-year-old Spaniard in recent years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the U.S. Open in September.“I love to play on hard (courts), but probably my body doesn’t love it that much,” Nadal said. “As I say before, is not only about today, is about tomorrow. Maybe we’re going to pay the price at the age of 45 or something. That will be not nice. When I see some old legends walking around the tour, is tough to see.”Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu rallied past No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, winning on her fourth match point to reach the biggest final of her young career.ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra LATEST STORIES Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title View comments MOST READ Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Neither Federer nor Nadal has dropped a set in four matches in the desert. Federer has been broken just once, while Nadal has dropped serve three times, twice against Khachanov.Nadal stands in the way of Federer’s pursuit of a record sixth title at Indian Wells.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsStill, the Swiss superstar was rooting for Nadal to advance against his 22-year-old opponent.“Playing against young guys to eventually get to Rafa, that’s exciting,” said Federer, who also faced an opponent the same age as Khachanov. Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California collegelast_img read more