Monday, June 16, 2014

ISML 2014: Asuna, Ruri lead Ruby

ISML 2014: Asuna, Ruri lead Ruby

By Jo-Ryan Salazar
June 16, 2014

Asuna Yuuki and Ruri Gokou lead the Nova and Stella Divisions following Match Day 4 of the 2014 International Saimoe League Ruby Period. Most of the expected favorites pulled through, but there were a few other surprises. Here is a round-up of results.

NOVA DIVISION

In the Nova Division, Yui delivered the Upset of the Round: a 2319-2301 nailbiter over Misaki Shoukohou, the closest result of the night. Yoshino defeated Kurousagi 2632-1967, Kuroyukihime flew past Charlotte Belew 3144-1369, Azusa Azuki defeated Origami Tobiiichi 2493-2055, Eru Chitanda hammered Yukina Himeragi 2791-1716 and Momo Velia Deviluke prevailed over Haqua du Lot Herminium 2192-2033.

Tsukiko Tsutsukakushi romped past Furano Yukihira 3117-1246, Mikan Yuuki defeated Mirai Kuriyama 2388-2119, Yana prevailed over Yukino Yukinoshita 2284-2159, Rikka Takanashi whipped past Shiori Shiomiya 3184-1481, Asuna Yuuki crushed Chocolat 2980-1715 and Nyarlathotep defeated Suguha Kirigaya 2372-2107.

Wrapping up Nova play, Shinka Nibutani slammed Rin Natsume 2913-1686, Tohka Yatogami destroyed Ririchiyo Shirakiin 2969-1658, Kotori Itsuka annihilated Laura Bodewig 3257-1369, Touka Takanashi defeated Sanae Dekomori 2310-2059, Kurumi Tokisaki shot down Karuta Roromiya 3528-1212 and Nanami Aoyama dominated Noumi Kudryavka 2961-1547.

STELLA DIVISION

In the Stella Division, Shana torched Hinagiku Katsura 2950-1443, Kurisu Makise stunned Shinobu Oshino 2303-1955, Mashiro Shiina pulverized Yozora Mikazuki 3394-1137, defending champion Ruri Gokou ran past Nadeko Sengoku 3250-1330, Eucliwood Hellscythe silenced Erio Touwa 3029-1274 and Yui Hirasawa rocked Meiko Honma 2541-1826.

Yui-nyan cruised past Hitagi Senjougahara 2578-1904, Saber slashed past Yuki Nagato in a 2398-2134 upset, Kanade Tachibana sliced and diced Masami Iwasawa 3656-883, Mio Akiyama boomed past Kobato Hasegawa 2522-2136, Haruhi Suzumiya defeated Last Order 2446-2071 and Konjiki no Yami stunned Sena Kashizawaki 2286-2095.

Wrapping up Stella play, Inori Yuzuriha drubbed Victorique de Blois 2611-1739, Yuri Nakamura gunned down Sora Kasugano 2604-1907, Taiga Aisaka roared past Illyasviel von Einzbern 2941-1635, Mikoto Misaka electrocuted Shouko Kirishima 3324-1346, Charlotte Dunois upset Kirino Kousaka 2249-2164 and Ayase Aragaki won a 2378-2344 thriller over Azusa Nakano.

In special exhibition play, Sayaka Kirasaka rolled past Mitsuki Kanzaki 2188-1528 and Risa Harada routed Nadja Applefield 1803-647.

Match Day 5 of the 2014 International Saimoe League Ruby Period is scheduled for June 17, 2014. Vote for your favorite candidates at InternationalSaimoe.com and join the ongoing debate.

FINALLY!


Before Monday, few non-soccer die-hards knew John Brooks' name. Now he's an American hero, having scored the winning goal for the United States in the 86th minute of a 2-1 victory over Ghana.
Here are some things you should know about the 21-year-old who put Team USA in an unexpectedly strong position to reach the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup:

Brooks has never lived in the U.S.

Brooks, also known as John Anthony Brooks, was born in Berlin while his father, Chicago native John Brooks Sr., was stationed in the German capital as a member of the U.S. military. Brooks grew up in the city, playing in the youth academy for Hertha BSC and later signing a professional contract with the club.
John BrooksFacebook/John Brooks
Here's Brooks talking glowingly about his family, his dog and his love for what the Germans call "fussball." Note the accent -- he's definitely not from Los Angeles or NYC:


Brooks is quite happy to be playing for USA

Because of his American father, the 6-foot-3 central defender had a choice of national teams. He spent some time with both Germany and the U.S. in his younger years, but always preferred America.
"The United States is still my first choice," Brooks told The New York Times in 2012. "Playing for the German team was OK but America was a lot better."
This past August, Brooks made his senior-team debut with the U.S. in a friendly vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina. Team USA won 4-3.

John BrooksAP Photo/Amel Emric

Brooks once reportedly was benched for a tattoo ...

No, Hertha manager Jos Luhukay isn't anti-ink. He simply had no choice, reportedly, as Brooks' large back tattoo was so fresh when his team was set to take on Bayer Leverkusen this past April that Brooks had to sit out for fear that sweat and rubbing against the jersey would irritate the skin.
"I don't have any understanding for that," Luhukay told Berliner Morgenpost. "The tattoo could lead to an inflammation, and, naturally, that is not good."

... but not these tattoos

Brooks has a tattoo on each arm: one for his dad's hometown, and the other his own. Here they are, via Men in Blazers:
John Brooks tattoosCourtesy Men in Blazers

Brooks could join the Premier League

Transfer rumors should always be taken with a huge bag of salt. Still, reports from the U.K.say the likes of Everton (where U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard plays), Aston Villa (U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan), Stoke City (U.S. defender/midfielder Geoff Cameron), West Ham and Newcastle are interested.




San Antonio Spurs: 2013-14 NBA Champions


Summing it up
The Spurs started Game 5 of the Finals poorly at the AT&T Center, giving coach Gregg Popovich an unsettling flashback to one of the worst moments in franchise history. Much like their collapse in the 2012 Western Conference Finals, they were sluggish and stagnant, a far cry from consecutive beatdowns at Miami in which they elevated the game to artistic levels.
“I told my team we looked exactly like we did two years ago when we won the first two against OKC and then they won four in a row because we stopped moving the ball,” he said. “The ball didn’t move, it didn’t change sides. And that’s what the game looked like in the first six or seven minutes of the game.”
The Spurs trailed the Heat by 16 at that point, and visions of a return flight to Miami and squandered control were looming. But unlike last year, when fate conspired to steal the championship from their grasp, they simply would not be denied, crushing the Heat by 37 over the next two quarters and cruising to a 104-87 victory that capped their fifth championship and the most lopsided Finals triumph in NBA history.
The Spurs did lose a game in the series, winning 4-1. But their 14-point average margin of victory over those five games was a championship series record, as was their 52.8 team shooting percentage. That it came at the expense of the Heat, whose 4-3 victory in last year’s series continued to torment the Spurs well into this season, made it all the better. It said something about the depth of that heartbreak, and the achievement of getting back and earning redemption, that Tim Duncan said it was the most satisfying of his five championships dating back to 1999.
“It is sweeter than any other,” said Duncan, who became the first player to start for three different championship teams in three decades. “Whether it be because of the time frame, because I’m coming towards the end of my career, because I can have these two (his children) here and really remember it and enjoy the experience, all of those things make it that much more special.”
Having been beaten like no other team in the Finals, the Heat could only lavish praise on the team they devastated last year to win their second straight championship.
“We got smashed,” Chris Bosh said. “They exposed us. They picked us apart. They played the best basketball I’ve ever seen.”
Said LeBron James, “That’s how team basketball should be played. It’s selfless. Guys move, cut, pass. You get a shot, you take it, but it’s all for the team and it’s never about the individual. That’s (their) brand of basketball, and that’s how team basketball should be played.”
Even Manu Ginobili, so single-minded in his pursuit of another title that he said he couldn’t sit still to even read during the Finals, admitted getting caught up in the artistry of the Spurs’ play.
“There were some possessions on the court and seeing what was going on, some others on the bench, I was so proud,” he said. “Sometimes I felt like saying, ‘Wow, this is sweet.’ It was really fun to play like this.”
And, of course, to win and atone for last year’s defeat.
“To be so close last year, it was very cruel,” Tony Parker said. “But that’s the beauty of sport. Sometimes it’s tough. And sometimes it can be beautiful like today, because it shows a lot of character of the team to take a loss and to come back the following year and win the whole thing.
“It just makes the journey even more worth it. It was worth all the pain. It’s so sweet to win a championship the way we did. I would change nothing. It makes it even better, the fact that we had to go through that, to go through a tough loss, and to be able to come back.
“It just makes the journey even more worth it.”
Player of the game
Popovich wasted little time inserting bench captain Ginobili — less than three minutes, in fact. Yet the Spurs’ poor start got even worse, spiraling to a 22-6 deficit with five minutes left in the first quarter. That’s when Ginobili went to work, scoring six of his 19 points during a 12-0 surge that started the Spurs’ turnaround. Ginobili got into it with Miami counterpart Shane Battier to draw an offensive foul, then exchanged elbows with Chris Andersen on the ensuing timeout.
Rather than shrink, Ginobili lives for such confrontations. He later lifted off for a poster dunk in Bosh’s face as the Spurs padded their lead late in the first half, well on their way to victory. Ginobili averaged 14.4 points and shot 50 percent in the series, a huge performance after committing a total of 12 turnovers over the last two games of last year’s Finals.
“I’m not skilled enough to explain properly how we feel,” he said. “It was a tough summer. We all felt guilty. We all felt that we let teammates down. But we work hard. We got (back) to this spot, and we didn’t let go.”
The turning point
The game was barely seven minutes old, with anticipation of a championship celebration still thick in the air, when the Spurs found themselves on the wrong side of a 22-6 broadside. They responded in kind, destroying Miami’s lead and whatever was left of its collective psyche with an extended 59-22 surge spanning nearly two full quarters. The Spurs led by 21 at that point, and never fewer than 14 the rest of the way as they earned their fourth victory of at least 15 points in the series, and 12th in the entire postseason to extend their NBA record.