Friday, June 22

Good job, good effort!*

Look at that face. :)

It's about damn time.

After nine long and painful years, LeBron James can finally call himself a 'champion'. The coronation of the self-proclaimed King couldn't have been more theatrical. In 44 minutes, he had 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds; a rare triple-double feat. It was a total team effort for Miami Heat, of course, as they drained 14 three-pointers (half of which came courtesy of Mike Miller) and just dominated the entire game in every way possible.

It is personally hard to write about the triumphs and jubilations of a man I have come to despise ever since publicly ditching the team that drafted him, in the worst way possible: a planned nationally televised special event. With The Decision, LeBron instantly became the most hated player and the Miami Heat the most detestable NBA team. The Decision was a terrible idea. I hated him even more with 'not 5.. not 6.. not 7..'. Although there is no denying of LeBron's talent, that move tarnished his image and left a sour taste in the mouth of many basketball fans, including me. I’m not even a Cleveland fan, either. God only knows how they felt. So it was especially entertaining to see Miami Heat lose the 2011 NBA championship to the Dallas Mavericks and LeBron James choking on top of it. It was like Christmas in June.

Arming themselves with the humiliation of last year's failed Finals run, the Miami Heat came blaring into the new (shortened) season with invigorated hearts and a whole new mindset. LeBron was dropping insane, jaw-dropping figures. However we may question his loyalty, there was one thing about LeBron James even the haters cannot doubt: his enormous talent. Dwayne Wade proved to be indispensable and played an optimal role. Chris Bosh, despite nagging injury, has stepped up as Heat's go-to big man, occasionally playing off-position. Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers also joined in the party to add additional offensive and defensive cover for the team. Despite James being the center of the hoopla, it became apparent that the Heat were playing team basketball. Hell, even Mike Miller showed up when it mattered the most! There is also the matter of guidance from coach Erik Spoelstra, who is quick to come up with crucial in-game adjustments in rotation, defense and offense.

Which brings me to the important lesson the last two NBA seasons has taught me: No matter how stacked your team is, if you don’t buck up and become a disciplined player, you don’t win. (I'm looking at you, Andrew Bynum!) Talent alone doesn’t win championships (Kobe Bryant), you have to have a competent supporting cast (MWP and the rest of the Lakers bench) and be totally focused on doing what it takes to win instead of being focused on not getting blamed for losses (Pau Gasol). James corrected his errors this year and his supporting cast stepped up way more than expected. Something the Lakers has extremely lacked for the last two seasons. (Just felt the need to throw some Lakers references in there.)

That being said, I congratulate LeBron James and the Miami Heat (plus all their fans) for winning this year's title. We can all say we were witnesses to another historical NBA and sports moment. LeBron had one of the best playoffs run ever by any player: 11 double doubles, multiple triple doubles, big games, clutch moments and he capped it all off with a championship victory. And although I would probably never like him, it is but proper to recognize LeBron's tremendous talent and ability as a basketball player (and I heard he's a nice fellow as well). I also particularly liked the LeBron James I heard on the post-game press conference today, saying how all the past issues and harsh scrutinies have humbled him as a person.

Congratulations are in order for the Oklahoma City Thunder, too. They are such a young team, but already showing great talents in their roster. Suffice to say that we are going to see more of them in the coming years. It's always exciting and entertaining when new rivalries are born in the league.

It has been yet again another exciting basketball season for the NBA. Forget that flopping was an all-time high this year or that referees were simply awful with their calls (and non-calls). In the end, they only add spice to the already colorful and beautiful world of the sport we all come to love.

(Meet the kid that inspired the title for this post HERE.)

Thursday, June 14

SATG's Guide: Smoking Hot Reasons to Watch Euro 2012 (Part 2)

Spending some sleepless nights myself catching Euro 2012 on TV. I blame these European men with their funny accents and hard-board abs! Ladies, can anybody tell me why European men are so hot?!?

Now, where were we? Oh, yes... Here comes the second part of the smoking hot reasons why I deprive myself of sleep. Aside from watching the beautiful sport, here are 7 more beautiful men to watch at Euro 2012. Ogle on, ladies!

(Part One HERE.)

Wednesday, June 13

Monday, June 11

SATG's Guide: Smoking Hot Reasons to Watch Euro 2012 (Part 1)

The Euro 2012 has started last week and millions of football fans around the world are sacrificing sleep (thanks to the time difference!), work and other essentials to be able to watch the games on their own little corner of the planet. And if your man is one of those, you may want to lend some solidarity by catching the occasional match too. 

Ladies, even if you're not a football fan, here's the lowdown of some of the smoking hot reasons you can enjoy the Euro 2012! :)

(Read Part Two HERE.)

Sunday, June 10

Hello Las Vegas Police? I'm calling to report a robbery...

Millions and millions of people care, because they derive a sense of hope and faith from watching the rise of champions and champions prove themselves. Champions bring out the champion in others. In a world obviously full of injustices, people gain great joy and satisfaction from watching a fight or match that is judged fairly. Manny Pacquiao is an inspiration and did not deserve this loss--and neither did the millions and millions of boxing fans.

Friday, June 8

French Open 2012: Men's Singles Semifinal Preview + Predictions

Out of the 128 competitors, we're now down to four for the semifinals at the French Open in Paris. Although the women's side has produced one upset after the other, the men's side has been consistent thus far and produced expected semifinal matches.

Here are my previews and predictions for the Men's Singles semifinals at the 2012 Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal (2) versus David Ferrer (6)

Rafael Nadal is out for his 7th Roland Garros title and has showed absolutely no mercy along the way. The King of Clay has yet to lose a set so far in the tournament, and with the level of play and intensity he has exhibited so far, it looks likes David Ferrer is up to a Herculean task.

Rafa has cruised easily past Simone Bolelli, Denis Istomin, Eduardo Schwank, and Juan Monaco. The closest to a challenge the Spaniard has faced came via fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro in the first set during their QF match. But the clay court specialist rose to the occasion edged Almagro 7-4 to take the set. He eventually went to ruthlessly defeat Almagro 6-2, 6-3.

David Ferrer also impressively glided in the earlier rounds and was also unchallenged until the QF, where he dismissed world #4 Andy Murray in an intense, high quality hitting match. This proved that although he no longer belonged to the top 5 players in the world, he certainly belongs to the top 5 best clay court players.

The Spaniards have since met 19 times and Rafa holds a commanding 15-4 edge. On clay, Rafa leads 12-1 against Ferrer, with the latter's only win came in 2004 when Rafa was a budding tennis player. To say that Ferrer is in a major disadvantage is a major understatement. It will take Ferrer more than what he is currently doing and to dig deep if he wants to avenge his Rome Masters defeat earlier this year against Rafa.

Ferrer can possibly snatch a set from Rafa at best if he can keep up with the defending champion by hitting his corners, forcing Rafa on either side, and holding on his serve long enough to bring out frustration in Nadal. Otherwise, I cannot see anything stopping Rafa in reaching the Finals again. PREDICTION: Rafael Nadal in 4.

Roger Federer (3) versus Novak Djokovic (1)

The theme of this match is REVENGE. Novak Djokovic is out for revenge against Roger Federer for snapping his incredible 42-match winning streak last year at the same stage of the same tournament. Roger Federer is out for revenge against Novak Djokovic for defeating him five times in their last 6 matches, being the Rome Masters as the latest.

This match is tougher to call since both men have suffered greatly coming from their QF matches. The Serb was strongly contested by home-crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He seemed to have lost focus and was out on many occasions in their QF match, but the world #1 has pulled through in the final set. He was also challenged hard in the earlier rounds (c/o Andres Seppi), but one thing that Novak should be happy for is that despite playing (cosiderably) bad tennis, he has survived to face Roger in the semis.

The Swiss Maestro also had his share of scare in the road to semifinals, notably against Juan Martin del Potro in the QF. Roger was down 2 sets to love before his epic comeback, winning in three straight sets in true Fed-Ex fashion, reminiscent of his slightly younger self. In the earlier rounds, Roger only won once in straight sets (first round) and the world saw how he has dropped one set in the subsequent rounds until dropping two against del Potro.

Both has struggled so far in the tournament, but Roger leads their all-time career head-to-head matches 14-11, including a 3-2 clay court advantage. However, Djokovic is a very different player now, a deserved World #1 and has won 26 Grand Slam matches in a row, and is a mere two matches from achieving something that Federer has never been able to do, win 4 major titles in a row (28 consecutive Grand Slam matches).

This match is going to the wire and I had a pretty difficult time predicting who will win it. Although it pains me to say, Roger is not playing as well this year as he played last year, but with his talent you never know when he can raise his game and take out anyone, anytime. One major key in a Federer win is for him to serve at about 60%. If not, he will have a major problem with one of the best returners in the game. When Federer plays the top guys, serving well is a must as he needs to be on the front foot in the rallies as soon as he possibly can - the longer the rally continues, the less likely he is to win it - and the serve is his best attribute to do this.

Another major point for Roger is his drop-shot technique. Djokovic must anticipate this technique, which Roger loves doing, two backhands away. Backhand rallies generally favor Djokovic but then again the aforementioned technique will bring the stop for him.

Winning the first set is very crucial to Roger, since the trend points to Djokovic blowing out his second sets in previous matches. If and when this happens, Roger will be quick to take advantage.

Depth is something Federer will have to improve in this matchup, otherwise he'll find himself on the back foot a lot of the time. He should also try to impose himself when returning Djokovic's second serve. Although there is more to ask of Federer to beat Djokovic, than there is for Djokovic to beat Federer, Roger is a big-stage player who plays well under pressure and gets deadlier as tension rises. This special quality will propel him to another Finals appearance at Roland Garros. PREDICTION: Roger Federer in 5.

Rafael Nadal def. David Ferrer (6-2, 6-2, 6-1)
Novak Djokovic def. Roger Federer (6-4, 7-5, 6-3)

Thursday, June 7

New home of SATG!

In between grieving for the second round exit of my beloved LA Lakers from the NBA 2012 Playoffs and real life, I finally had some little time to move from Wordpress to Blogger for my Sports According to Girl blog.

What do you think of the new place?