Court to hear application to lift restriction on naming boy murdered…

first_imgRELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR A mother whose eleven-year-old son was murdered in 2019, has called for the lifting of a court order preventing the identification of her son and his killer.An application to lift the restriction, imposed by the Central Criminal Court at the convicted killers sentencing hearing last February, is to be heard tomorrow, Monday, May 10th.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The application, which is being brought by RTE, was adjourned twice last week to give notice to all parties.Speaking last Friday after the matter was adjourned, the victim’s mother said she felt “let down by the justice system” and wanted the order lifted with immediate effect.The order was imposed following an Appeal Court ruling in October 2020 after it found that a restriction on identifying children, who were victims of crimes where criminal proceedings had begun, applied not only to living children but also to deceased children.An amendment to the law came in last Friday allowing the naming of children, except in specific circumstances, however applications seeking to lift reporting restrictions must be made in situations where a specific court order was made previously.Counsel for the man convicted of murder in this case indicated in court last week, that they could not identify any legal objection on which they could argue against lifting the order in relation to their client.“I want the court to lift the restrictions in my son’s case as soon as possible to give me the opportunity to speak about my son. I have been silenced for too long,” said the victim’s mother.“I’m very upset over it, it makes me very angry, I just don’t understand it, it’s adding more stress for me.”“It’s so unfair, even though the law is changed, I still can’t talk about (son’s name).”The mother argued that the order in her son’s case “does not protect my son” but it “serves to hide the killer and what he did to my son, in fact, it is silencing the type of child (son’s name) was, and for us to able to speak about him”.The victim was beaten with a hammer and stabbed to death by his half uncle, in November 2019.The killer pleaded guilty to his half-nephew’s murder, and said he heard voices in his head telling him to stab the boy. WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League opener Previous article20 Points Apiece At the Gaelic Grounds as Tipp and Limerick Share SpoilsNext articleAer Lingus Shannon cabin crew remain laid off until mid-summer David Raleigh LimerickNewsCourt to hear application to lift restriction on naming boy murdered by half uncleBy David Raleigh – May 10, 2021 386 Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Email Printcenter_img Facebook WhatsApp Advertisement TAGSKeeping Limerick PostedlimerickLimerick Post Linkedin Twitter Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Roisin Upton excited by “hockey talent coming through” in Limericklast_img read more

Natural Taste

first_imgNightmares with planning permission, finding out the machinery you’ve bought is completely unsuitable for your purpose, delays with getting the packaging and design sorted, a complete lack of government grants available and banks with a stonewall approach to funding new businesses… newly-formed Taste Essential was unfortunate to fall foul of all the above after acquiring its production site in June last year. “It hasn’t been easy,” admits the firm’s undaunted director Tim Latham Taylor. “The last time I set up a business it wasn’t as hard as this. Banks don’t support new businesses and suppliers could be more helpful.”Some ingredients suppliers are over-cautious and he urges them to offer account facilities for new businesses. “Every new business has to pay cash on delivery or pro forma, and that puts you in hardship before you start.”But now the dust has settled, Taste has picked up five UK distributors, giving national coverage. “We have a sound business plan; foodservice suppliers have to shop around – they get their Danish pastries from one company, gateaux from another and muffins from another. We supply everything.”Officially launched in January, Taste Essential’s focus is on natural ingredients. “It’s frustrating competing just on price. There’s a better market out there than that. We use natural ingredients, and we only use natural or nature-identical flavourings. If it’s a chocolate muffin, for example, we’ll only use Barry Callebaut chocolate.”The next step will be rolling out half a dozen high-footfall cafés with 3,000sq ft or above units, supplied from the central bakery. The first outlet should open early next year, selling ground coffee and freshly squeezed juices, sandwiches and cakes. “We’re trialling our products in the market to see what sells and to see what’s slow. I’m taking a bit of Costa, a bit of Starbucks, putting it together with my own concepts and giving it a twist,” he says. n—-=== The pros and cons ===Biggest challenge:I’m used to working with more sophisticated machinery, working in senior management for a larger company where it’s a privilege to be able to put a recipe together and let the production manager get on with it. I can’t do that here, and that was a bit of a shock. You have to adapt that recipe to your environment, and that took me some time.Unique selling pointThere are a lot of interesting ingredients in Europe, such as orange fillings, vanillas and caramels, that not many of our competitors in this market are using. So I’ll be bringing those in and making something slightly different. Europe will have a heavy influence on our products, such as croissants with natural raspberry fruit filling.—-=== Going it alone ===The firm: Leicester-based Taste Essential (Europe)The brief: To create a foodservice cake bakery brand with a focus on using natural ingredients, supplying pallet quantities and above. A chain of branded café outlets will followSuppliers: Barry Callebaut, Macphie, Rank HovisStaff: six, including two directorsFinance: £200,000 self-financed, mostly spent on a manufacturing facility and machinery, with £50,000 going to brand development, packaging and labellingBackground: NPD and sales director Tim Latham Taylor sold his chain of four hot bread shops 10 years ago to Greggs.Since then he has worked as a consultant, for a coffee chain, for a fairy cake company and, finally, in senior management at Leicester’s Blackfriars BakeryWebsite: [http://www.taste-essential.com]last_img read more

Pecan Crop

first_imgThe quality and quantity of Georgia’s 2013 pecan crop is in worse shape than originally feared.Due in large part to pecan scab, a fungal disease that thrives in wet conditions, Georgia’s pecan crop is expected to total between 50 million and 60 million pounds, instead of the normal 90 million. University of Georgia pecan horticulturist Lenny Wells had — in early fall — predicted a poor harvest of between 65 million and 70 million pounds, but in reality, the harvest fell short of even the most pessimistic predictions. “There’s kind of an old saying in the pecan business that a short crop gets shorter. That has definitely held true this year,” Wells said. “Most growers that looked like they had a good crop are getting about a third less than what they thought was there.”Not only is the quantity lacking for one of the state’s biggest commodities, but the international demand that drove high prices in previous seasons has also slackened. During the height of harvest season when China was buying its bulk of pecans, commercial producers were averaging about $2.90 per pound for Desirable pecans, the state’s most popular variety. However, according to Wells, that price has dropped to between $1.80 and $2.“For some reason, the law of supply and demand doesn’t seem to apply to pecans this year” Wells said. “I’m told there’s a lot of nuts in storage in China, still and there doesn’t seem to have been much of a demand for the 2013 crop domestically. It’s been a very odd year.” Wells added that China’s mass import of Georgia’s pecans is due in large part to its celebration of the new year, which falls earlier in 2014 than it has in recent years. China bought more pecans earlier this year, and thus, has not been buying later in the harvest season.In addition to producing fewer nuts, farmers are reporting that individual nuts are packing less of a punch. What was predicted to be a smaller crop is also much lighter than originally thought. Wells reported that the lighter pecan nuts are being blown out at cleaning plants, reinforcing the belief that the weight of individual pecans is down. Many of this year’s pecan problems can also be blamed on wetter than usual weather this summer and part of this fall. Rain led to higher than normal incidences of the fungal disease pecan scab, interrupted harvest activities and deteriorated the quality of the nut.last_img read more

32 LOCAL EXECS SUPPORT NPA? Rebels helped them win in midterm polls – PRO-6

first_imgFifteen of these candidates won eitheras mayors or members of the Sangguniang Bayan in Iloilo and Capiz, said Batara. ILOILO City – Thirty-two elected localofficials in Western Visayas enjoyed the support of the New People’s Army (NPA)in the May midterm elections, according to the Police Regional Office 6(PRO-6). Are these officials now paying the rebels back with support, too? During elections, NPA rebels are knownto impose “permit to campaign fees” on candidates intending to enterrebel-influenced areas. Malong acknowledged it would bedifficult to prove that these local officials are now paying the insurgentsback with monetary or logistical support unless witnesses surface. Of these 32 officials, 11 were electedmayor and six were elected vice mayor, she added. In the months leading to the Maypolls, certain candidates were “consistently monitored to be giving support tothe NPA, including some candidates who gave in on the rebels’ ‘permit to win’and ‘permit to campaign’ (fees),” Batara said. The rebels campaigned for them, saidPRO-6 spokesperson Police Lieutenant Joem Malong, citing intelligence reports. Furthermore, Batara said, localgovernment units (LGUs), particularly the local chief executives, shouldspearhead efforts to end the insurgency problem. “We are monitoring them,” she said. The same law further criminalizes thefinancing of terrorism. In particular, it freezes and forfeits the property orfunds of those designated terrorists or terrorist organizations. This is donein order to prevent and suppress terrorist activities. “If we have gathered enough concreteevidence, appropriate charges would be filed against them,” including forterrorism, Batara said. Under Republic Act (RA) 10168,terrorism is considered inimical and dangerous to the country’s nationalsecurity. Terrorism is, thus, condemned, including those who support andfinance acts of terrorism.center_img The figures of the PRO-6 were not farfrom those of the Philippine Army. In Iloilo province, the rebelssupported five mayors, two vice mayors and nine municipal councilors while inCapiz, they campaigned for four mayors, two vice mayors and three towncouncilors, said Malong. The 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB)monitored 37 candidates who financially supported the NPA, according toLieutenant Colonel Joel Benedict Batara, battalion commander. In Negros Occidental, two electedmayors, two vice mayors, two municipal councilors, and a provincial boardmember enjoyed the backing of the NPA, said Malong. “We are warning these local officialsto stop supporting rebels,” said Malong. “We need physical evidence to pin themdown,” said Malong. Local officials proven to besupportive of rebels face criminal and administrative charges. “We have identified them,” accordingto the PRO-6 spokesperson but she declined to name them. Under Section 4 of RA 10168, personsfound guilty of terrorist financing “shall suffer the penalty of reclusiontemporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua”and be made to pay a fine of not less than P500,000 nor more than P1 million. The United States and European Unionhave labeled the NPA and its political body, the Communist Party of thePhilippines, as an international terror organization. (With areport from the Philippine News Agency/PN)last_img read more

Recipe: Vaca Frita (Cuba)

first_imgVaca Frita By Celina DeCastroLiterally translated to “Fried Cow”, this Cuban dish is usually served with rice, beans and fried plantains. Vaca frita will transport you to Havana without ever having you leave your home. Similar to Cuba’s Ropa Vieja, this dish has less tomato sauce and more of the natural crispy beef flavor that will leave you craving more.What you’ll need:1 1/2 pound of flank steak, cut into four pieces1 green bell pepper, cored and quartered2 large onions- 1 halved and 1 thinly sliced1 bay leaf2 smashed garlic clovesSalt1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons of lime juice2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oilFresh ground pepperWhat to do:Combine the bell pepper, halved onion, 1 of the garlic cloves and bay leaf in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.Add just enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a boil, add in the flank steak. Let it simmer over medium heat for about twenty to thirty minutes.Remove steak and other ingredients from stock.Once steak has cooled, shred the meatIn a large bowl add lime juice, shredded beef, and finely minced garlic. Toss the mixture and let it marinate for at least an hour.Heat a cast iron skillet or pan over high heat. Add oil and thinly sliced onions, cook until onions become translucent and browned at the edges.Add beef and cook until beef is browned and crispy. Here you can personalize the level of crispiness you would like for the beef.Serve immediately to hungry friends and family, don’t forget an extra lime on the side.last_img read more

Jets’ Clowney going to Ghana after helping Haiti

first_imgby Dennis Waszak Jr.NEW YORK (AP)—Tears welled up in David Clowney’s eyes as he watched a group of Haitian children roam the streets of Port-au-Prince with no­where to go.Shoeless, shirtless and homeless, they made the New York Jets wide receiver think about his little brother, Jordan. DAVID CLOWNEY “Just seeing how these kids who had no families were living was devastating,” Clowney told The Associated Press. “I have a 10-year-old brother and I just can’t imagine him living that way.”Clowney, who had 14 catches and a touchdown last season, spent three days in Haiti last month as part of a missionary group that included Jets teammates James Ihedigbo and Vernon Gholston and former cornerback Ahmad Carroll. They worked with members of Yele Haiti, musician Wyclef Jean’s charity, to help with the relief and recovery efforts following the earthquake that killed an estimated 230,000 and left 1.3 million homeless in January.“Even if I can’t save the entire country, I can at least try to put a Band-Aid on things to help the situation,” Clowney said. “I was in tears a couple of times, though, going to the orphanages and passing out diapers, baby formula and baby food.”Inspired by what he considers a life-changing experience, Clowney is planning a weeklong trip to Ghana in July to help needy children in that West African country.“I’ve always wanted to go to Africa and this is another opportunity to do something good for the kids,” Clowney said. “Honestly, I love kids. Seriously, I do.”Clowney’s trip is scheduled for July 3-10, and he’s holding a fundraiser through his charity, the David Clowney Foundation, to raise money to finance the trip and supplies. He and several of his Jets teammates will be waiters and servers at Applebee’s restaurant in East Han­over, N.J., on May 18. Tickets cost $65, which includes dinner and a donation to the foundation.“I thought it was a cool twist,” Clowney said.He’s hoping some of his teammates join him in Ghana, and plans to get in touch with Indianapolis Colts running back Joseph Addai, whose family is from there.The mission will include a visit to a hospital, to which Clowney’s foundation will donate money and medical supplies. Also on the itiner­ary are stops at a school in Kumasi and an orphanage in the capital city of Accra, and then he’ll set up a game to teach the children about American football.“It’ll be good, man,” Clow­ney said. “It’s all for the kids.”Clowney, 24, began his foundation over a year ago with football camps and clothing drives to help children in the rough, crime-filled area of Palm Beach county where he grew up in South Florida.“I wanted to be able to express the message and show kids that you don’t need to do all those things to get out of a bad neighborhood or take care of your mother or your family,” he said. “I don’t want any kid to have to go through that.”That inspiration is what made the trip to Haiti so emotional for Clowney.“You see little kids right outside the airport, 12, 11, 10 years old and younger, and they’re trying to grab your bags so you can tip them,” he said, shaking his head. “They’re just out there trying to do anything they can. For them to be that young and have to go through that, that’s kind of troubling to me.”While in Haiti, Clowney helped set up shelter for homeless families and provided clothing, food and water for many who lost everything they owned.“We were in one community and they were all doing the Jets chant,” he said. “When they all started doing that, I had a little girl in my arms, and I just came to tears.”Haitian President Rene Preval immediately set up a meeting with the Jets contingent when he heard about their work in his country.“I haven’t even met my own president, and never been within 100 yards of one, and we’re in Haiti for two days and we get to meet him,” Clowney said, laughing. “That was very exciting. He talked to us, showed us a lot of love and he was out there doing the Jets chant, too.”It certainly has been a busy offseason for Clowney, who faces a crucial point in his playing career. Now in his fourth NFL season, the speedy receiver could be fighting for a roster spot this summer, especially after the Jets acquired Santonio Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.“He’s been a good friend of mine for a long time,” said Clowney, who competed against Holmes in high school. “At the same time, I’m going to make the best of any situation that comes my way. That’s on the field and off. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that no matter how bad it may seem initially, it might be the best thing that ever happens to you. I just feel blessed, man.”On the Net: David Clowney Foundation: http://www.davidclowney87.com/last_img read more

MDE Home Loans

first_imgMDE Home Loans held its ribbon cutting May 8 at 26 Ayres Lane, Little Silver. From left: Danielle Mason, CFO of MDE; Stacy Barile, chair of Paint the Town Pink; James Mason, president of MDE Home Loan; Mayor Robert Neff Jr.; and Matt Cohen, owner of Two River Title Company, and his wife, Leslie. During the occasion, a donation was made by MDE Home Loans in the name of its clients to the Pink Fund, which provides mammography to uninsured and underinsured women in the community.last_img

Unemployment Rates Reach Unprecedented Numbers

first_imgTo support the staff for the time being, Salt Creek Grille representatives organized a GoFundMe page for hourly staff members. It has raised over $10,000 to date, which Bidgood said is a credit to his staff. This article originally appeared in the April 23rd, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. Now, millions of Americans are jobless during this scary and uncertain time. Companies all over the country are taking huge financial hits and are facing layoffs in the wake of the pandemic. Unemployment rates have far surpassed the rates surrounding the Great Recession. Some local employers are also finding ways to support their staff members who have been laid off. That includes Salt Creek Grille co-owner Steve Bidgood. He shared that it was not easy laying off employees of the Rumson-based establishment; some of them have worked there since its opening over 20 years ago. In the meantime, she has been writing cards and making special videos for members of those facilities, wishing them well and letting them know she is thinking of them. The response has been very positive, and she’s looking to take it a step further. DaPrato plans to reach out to the facilities she performs at to see if they would be interested in having her perform while practicing social distancing. That could mean performing on the outside of a building for 15 minutes on each side, allowing residents to open up their windows and hear her perform. “It’s kind of difficult because they’re my second family. It’s tough. I didn’t think it was going to last this long. I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it is,” said Bidgood, who has been with Salt Creek Grille since 1996. The restaurant industry is a hard industry as it is. And when businesses get “kicked in the legs” financially as they have been from COVID-19, reopening may not be a possibility for some, he said. It will be costly to reinvest and open in good shape. Tourism is down and traveling is down, which is also not good for business. And should there be a second wave of the virus, it will be a nail in the coffin for others. Just over 45 days ago, the U.S. economy was booming with high wage growth and record low unemployment rates. That quickly changed with the rapid spread of COVID-19. Additionally, the non-profit has handed out about 200-to 300-plus grab-and-go meals six days a week since March 16. According to McCarthy, a monthly comparison of March 2020 to March 2019 shows demand has increased about 31 percent. And about 30 to 100-plus people each day receive groceries from the organization six days a week. “I would definitely bewilling to do that and noteven charge for this,” shesaid. “I really miss it. I missthe people.” DaPrato will also be taking this downtime for projects she has been meaning to start but has pushed off recording a “Christmas with Cathy D” CD, as well as working on some new material for her shows. According to Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R-13), who represents several towns in the Two River area, he and his office have spoken to an overwhelming number of callers complaining of backlogged unemployment claims far more calls than after SuperStorm Sandy in 2012, he told The Two River Times. He credited the issue to personnel shortages and outdated computer systems at the NJDOL. Middletown resident Cathy DaPrato is one of those self-employed workers. As a musician and the owner of Cathy D Entertainment, DaPrato finds herself “help-less” as she is unable to perform at her typical venues. DaPrato is a regular at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult daycare centers across New Jersey. Before the virus struck, she was scheduled to perform about 160 gigs this year. “I have people who come and celebrate every holiday with us,” he said, adding that some customers emailed him to say they were “devastated” about not being able to spend their Easter at the restaurant for the first time in 21 years. However, Burke plans to bring everyone back on as normal, whenever the businesses are allowed to reopen. He will need all who were laid off as well as summer staff. But some businesses won’t be as fortunate, he believes. He also said he is waiting for the CARE Act to kick in, which will allow his staff to be paid, including their tips. The staff was also encouraged to file for unemployment if they wanted to so that they could have some kind of cash flow coming in, Bidgood added. According to Scharfenberger, state staff members of various departments are being transitioned and reassigned, for the time being, to the NJDOL to free up some of the backlogging. He also noted that the department is operating on the decades-old COBOL computer programming language, which he called “archaic.” center_img COURTESY LUNCH BREAK / FACEBOOK Lunch Break volunteers Jennifer Anderson and board president John Klein recently delivered food to homebound clients. Representatives of the nonprofit are reporting significantly higher demands from community members compared to last year. “Some come to our facility, are students of the Red Bank Charter School and others such as the homebound and residents of the Pan American motel in Eatontown, receive deliveries. We have increased the number of times we deliver,” said McCarthy. “I just love it and I feel sohelpless right now because Ifeel like I can’t do anythingto help these people,” saidDaPrato. In New Jersey alone, there have been hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims each week since March 1. In the most recent data released from the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL), there were 141,420 claims made during the week of April 5 to 11. During the week prior, from March 29 to April 4, there were 214,836 claims. Lunch Break, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides basic necessities to people in need, has also seen “many” new people since the COVID-19 pandemic started, said Ellen McCarthy, communications and public relations coordinator. Last week alone, the organization gave 77 new people groceries in one day, she said, and new grocery clients are up 50 percent since March, compared to last year. “When something like this happens, systems like that are so easily over whelmed,” said Scharfenberger. On April 20, the assemblyman wrote to New Jersey State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio, asking that she withhold his salary “until every one of my constituents’ state unemployment claims has been fulfilled.” Currently, members of the state Senate and General Assembly receive an annual base salary of $49,000. “We were off to a great start this year. We were really rolling,” said Burke, between Drifthouse and its adjoining Nauti Bar. But now, the bar is closed and Drifthouse is offering curbside pick-up and delivery only. The financial strain called for the layoffs of most employees. She also estimated that about 85 percent of the SB-DC’s calls recently have been small business owners wondering what they should do to help their employees at this time. Typically, the SBDC focuses on helping businesses employ people. This is “the first time ever” they are helping businesses guide their employees to unemployment, she said. The restaurateur decided not to offer curbside pickup or delivery to area customers, as many other businesses have in the Two River area. He cited a concern for his staff’s safety and well-being as one of the deciding factors to close, as well as the costliness of cooking with mesquite wood, which the restaurant uses. According to Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes, regional director of the Monmouth/Ocean Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Brookdale Community College, there is a high percentage of self-employed individuals and freelancers who will not be eligible for unemployment from the state. Because of that, for the first time ever, they have been guiding those individuals on how to apply for pandemic unemployment. “With those orders, we can put a few more people back to work,” he said. “It’s a little something and it’s working out nicely.” Similarly, most staff members of Drifthouse by David Burke have been laid off; there are currently only two or three people still working, Burke shared with The Two River Times. Normally, there would be about 35 employees in the off-season and about 60 during the summer months. To support his staff members for the time being, Burke has kickstarted a “Feed the Heroes” campaign, where he takes donation money and buys food with it to be prepared and delivered to local heroes. In doing so, he is also putting his employees back to work. Last week, he was able to make a sizeable food donation to Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center, he said. By Allison Perrinelast_img read more

Keys to Victory: San Miguel-TNT finals series

first_imgWhat ‘missteps’? The Beermen have ran roughshod over the competition as they have put the demons of the past behind to solve their woes in the second conference.Winning the Commissioner’s Cup, a championship that has eluded the franchise since 2000, will bring San Miguel closer to its quest for a rare Grand Slam, a fitting achievement for a powerhouse team that has lorded over the league for the better part of the last three years.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHowever, a dangerous TNT squad wants nothing but to deny its fierce rival a crack at those feats and taste triumph again, as it hopes to reclaim the title it last won back in 2015.And the KaTropa have the tools to do just that. After all, they are just one of the three teams to deal the Beermen a rare loss this conference in a 112-103 win last May 5. With the finals two days away, here are INQUIRER’s keys to victory.Smith’s statusTristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netSituation surrounding reinforcement Joshua Smith looms like a bad cloud above TNT’s head.Exiting Game 3 of the KaTropa’s semifinals series against Ginebra, the burly import came back with a vengeance in Game 4 as he racked 18 points and five rebounds to close out the series.Still, doubts are casted on even if Smith himself vowed to be fine for the championship series.ADVERTISEMENT If Smith stays true to his word, TNT may just have the kryptonite to San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo with his sheer size the perfect foil to the three-time PBA MVP.The KaTropa won the elimination duel with a different import in Donte Greene imposing his will down low to a 40-20 game.Smith isn’t expected to churn out those numbers, but if he can throw his weight around, the battle in the paint may just tilt toward TNT.Rhodes’ foul woesSpeaking of imports, San Miguel also has its own conundrum with Charles Rhodes.Though the mercurial import is averaging 27.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.3 steals, he has often times found himself saddled on the bench due to foul troubles much to the chagrin of coach Leo Austria.Rhodes did show glimpses of him adapting to the officiating from time to time, but it’s yet to be seen, what version of him will show up in the title clash, which is a first for the 31-year-old Galveston, Texas native.Castro’s right hand manIt may be an import-laden conference, but Jayson Castro hasn’t shied away from the limelight as he remains to be the top guy for TNT.Case in point was him tallying an eye-popping performance to the tune of 38 points, seven rebounds, and 11 assists to steer the KaTropa to the Finals and arrange this date with the Beermen. As great as he is, Castro can’t do it alone, especially against San Miguel’s terror trio of Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter.RR Garcia has emerged as Castro’s best backcourt partner in the semis series, but Roger Pogoy, Ryan Reyes, and Kris Rosales must step up as well if TNT seeks to vanquish its fancied foe.Three’s aplentySan Miguel and TNT have embraced the power of three.That’s why it’s no surprise that the two finals protagonists rank in the upper half of the league when it comes to three-point attempts, with the KaTropa at first and the Beermen at third.Though we’ve already mentioned the guards, we haven’t even brought up TNT’s Ranidel de Ocampo, Troy Rosario and Mo Tautuaa, as well as San Miguel’s Arwind Santos and Ronald Tubid.The question now is which team will shoot themselves to the championship and which team will shoot themselves in the foot.Pandora’s boxGiven the star power of both teams, even the slightest of adjustments can make the biggest differences in the long run.And for coaches Leo Austria and Nash Racela, digging deep in their bench could be one of the moves which can swing the momentum to their side. WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Racela has already done his, unleashing guys like Garcia and Anthony Semerad to play vital roles in TNT’s semifinals duel against Ginebra.Austria has made the same moves, albeit in a more minimal scale by fielding in Gabby Espinas and Brian Heruela to get some minutes in the Star series.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH LATEST STORIES 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire MOST READcenter_img World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Cornerstones of their own conglomerates, San Miguel and TNT clash anew as they renew their rivalry, this time in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup trophy.ADVERTISEMENT ‘Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance PLAY LIST 01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:51Racela keeps faith in TNT import Joshua Smith00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Corbin wins Money in the Bank; Mahal retains WWE title Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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Five Weird Teams To Watch In The NCAA Tournament

Villanova693110.04.5 Iowa State81196.83.1 Michigan State564211.24.8 Baylor70306.16.1 West Virginia59418.17.6 Wichita State54468.63.2 Maryland72287.63.0 SMU74267.55.4 Iowa70306.85.4 Embed Code Kentucky71297.85.7 Arizona64367.65.4 Oklahoma76249.21.1 Virginia68329.86.0 Louisville66348.76.5 Xavier65357.35.2 Duke79217.45.8 Vanderbilt67336.95.4 Sources: Sports Reference, Ian Levy More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed UConn70306.04.9 Kansas70%30%8.78.2 Indiana63377.56.9 What distinguishes Xavier’s 1-3-1 from historical 1-3-1s like Baylor’s or Michigan’s (during John Beilein’s early years), though, is Mack’s use of two bigs — one in the middle and another on the baseline. Typically, a guard runs along the baseline of a 1-3-1, having the requisite speed to close out on short corner threes. But Xavier’s bigs — James Farr and Jalen Reynolds — are both quick for their position and also help XU rebound out of the zone defense (Xavier allowed opponents a 26.3 percent offensive rebounding rate), which is a traditional weakness of the formation. Some teams, like Seton Hall in the Big East tournament, have begun to figure out the scheme after playing Xavier a second time, but that’s not much comfort for teams getting their first taste this month.Hampton, Green Bay and Buffalo’s tempoBefore this season, the NCAA trimmed the Division I shot clock from 35 seconds to 30. Naturally, tempo has risen a bit — the average number of possessions in 2016 has been 69, per Ken Pomeroy, an uptick from 64.8 a season ago. The conventional wisdom is that this is bad news for underdogs — that weaker teams are best served by slowing down the game and pumping up the variance — but there are a few lower-seeded teams in this year’s field that push the ball anyway.The first is No. 16 Hampton (72.2 possessions per 40 minutes), which will face No. 1 Virginia (61.4 possessions) in the Midwest region. This is the largest difference between teams matched up in the first round. There is virtually no chance that the MEAC auto bid winners will be able to speed up and disrupt the methodical style of Tony Bennett’s squad enough to pull off a win (the FiveThirtyEight model gives Hampton a 2 percent chance of advancing).Another fast-moving team among the lower seeds is No. 14 Green Bay (76.6), which will play No. 3 Texas A&M (67.5). That matchup has the second-biggest difference in tempo, at 9.1 possessions per 40 minutes. Our model gives the Phoenix a 12 percent chance to pull the upset. Under new head coach Linc Darner, who came to the Horizon League school from a Division II program, the Phoenix went into overdrive and underwent a huge transformation, with 11.2 possessions more per 40 minutes than last season.Then there’s 14th-seeded Buffalo, which has a 14 percent chance of knocking off No. 3 Miami. Nate Oats became head coach at Buffalo when Bobby Hurley left for Arizona State, and Buffalo quickened its pace from 68.8 to 73.0. The margin between the Bulls’ pace and Miami’s 66.8 possessions per 40 minutes is 6.2.West Virginia’s benchFew teams in Division I rely on their bench as much as West Virginia. The No. 3 seed Mountaineers allot 41 percent2Data via Sports Reference with additional research by Ian Levy. of their overall minutes to reserves, which ranks 18th nationally and third among tournament teams. But WVU’s bench is unique because it isn’t just heavily utilized, it outperforms other units by a wide margin — even other teams’ starting lineups.Ian Levy of Nylon Calculus broke down the bench Box Plus/Minus of the top 30 squads in Pomeroy’s rankings, and the West Virginia bench’s BPM of +7.6 is better than that of every team’s except for Kansas’s (+8.2), but the Jayhawks don’t use their bench nearly as much as WVU (just 30 percent of their minutes). Among tournament teams that use their bench more often than WVU — Michigan State and Wichita State — the Mountaineers’ bench play is more valuable by a wide margin. (The bench BPMs for those two teams are +4.8 and +3.2, respectively.) Bob Huggins’s bench also outperforms 17 top-30 starting lineups, including No. 1 seed Oregon (+6.6) and No. 2 seed Xavier (+7.3). Texas62386.54.1 California69316.74.1 Utah71296.84.4 TEAMTOP 5 SHARE PLAYING TIMEBENCH SHARE PLAYING TIMETOP 5 BPMBENCH BPM Oregon74266.64.5 Texas A&M70306.85.4 Gonzaga76246.82.7 Our sports podcast Hot Takedown previews March Madness. North Carolina65359.15.3 By Matt Giles The catalyst is the play of both Jaysean Paige and Jonathan Holton, two Mountaineers who could start but thrive coming off the bench. Holton, a 6-foot-7 big, uses 51 percent of the team’s minutes and is nearly impossible to keep off the offensive glass, grabbing 17.1 percent of WVU’s misses — more than a quarter of his field goal attempts are putbacks, and he is second on the squad at field-goal percentage at the rim.Paige is West Virginia’s X-factor. Despite using only 56 percent of WVU’s minutes, Paige attempts 31.8 percent of the Mountaineers’ shots when he’s on the floor, and when he checks into the game, the Mountaineers often see an improvement, since he frequently subs for Daxter Miles, a 6-foot-3 guard with a BPM of +7 (Paige’s BPM is +10).North Carolina’s small ballRoy Williams loves his bigs. Throughout his career, the North Carolina coach has almost always played two traditional forwards at the same time. “I like to play two big guys, because I still think defending around the rim and grabbing rebounds are big parts of the game,” he told The New York Times earlier this season. But Williams’s thinking is beginning to align with the small ball revolution.It’s a good time for the change, since UNC’s roster is suited for small ball. Both Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson are mismatches at their respective positions of the 3 and the 4, and Pinson can help guard 4s while Jackson has the speed and the length (6-foot-8) to disrupt the offensive rhythm of 3s. During early ACC play, Williams began to dip his toe into the small ball waters, and the results were promising; per Adrian Atkinson, who specializes in crunching data for all things Tar Heel blue, UNC’s net efficiency was +43.1 in 39 minutes for the first five conference games.But then Kennedy Meeks returned from a knee injury, and Williams reverted back to his traditional lineups: UNC’s small ball lineups played only 50 minutes for the next 12 ACC games. In the final three games of ACC play, that net efficiency spiked to +55.1. Williams may only exploit this mismatch in small doses, but it is an interesting wrinkle for a coach with national title aspirations and a long-held two-post belief system.Kentucky’s adaptabilityKentucky is the field’s most dangerous seed that is not a No. 1 or 2. The No. 4 seed in the East region has potential matchups against Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, but outside of a handful of squads, there aren’t many teams in the tournament playing as well as the Wildcats. Kentucky has won 10 of their last 12 games, including the SEC tournament title.John Calipari has done his usual lineup juggling act this season, but it got particularly interesting after forward Alex Poythress injured his right knee and was sidelined for five games. In Poythress’s absence, Calipari slotted in Derek Willis, a stretch 4 whose skills combined well with the pick-and-pop game of Tyler Ulis, and UK’s offensive efficiency rate went from 1.11 points per possession pre-injury to 1.14 — unusual for a team that loses one of its best players. The team upped its rate of 3-point field goal attempts (from 30.2 percent to 37.4 percent) and began converting a whopping 49.1 percent of their threes. Poythress’s absence opened the half court for penetration and kick-outs, and while the squad didn’t defend at the level that we expect from Calipari-coached teams (UK began hacking opponents, notching a defensive free throw rate of 46 percent), its offense more than compensated.But then Poythress returned, and questions surfaced about how Kentucky would adjust with its sole traditional post player back in the lineup. The team adapted. Skal Labissiere began to play more on the elbow and above the free-throw line, which allowed for potential high-lows. The 1.05 PPP the Kentucky defense allowed in the seven games with a healthy Poythress is below the typical Calipari team’s standard, but we’ve learned that Kentucky’s offense is perhaps the best ever during the Calipari era: 1.25 PPP in 66 possessions.The team is hitting a similar percentage of threes (45 percent), and even Poythress is contributing to the 3-point-fueled offense; he’s taken seven of his 23 threes for the season since returning. Compared with the efficiency margins posted by other high major teams at the end of conference play, Kentucky’s +.20 efficiency margin would top every other squad. Purdue61397.96.8 A large part of enjoying the NCAA Tournament is about grinding your friends’ and family’s brackets into paste. For that, there are our March Madness predictions. Some other sizable portion of the tournament’s fun, though, is wrapped up in the diverse cast of teams assembled to play for the national title. The college game, much more so than the pros, is still home to quirks and oddities that can power a team to a few unexpected tournament wins. Here are five (or so) teams, and their statistical idiosyncrasies, to look out for this March.Xavier’s 1-3-1 zoneThe 1-3-1 is not a popular defense. Its spatial concepts are difficult to teach (players form an elongated plus sign in the defensive half court), and the formation is prone to imbalance if an opponent gets hot from the wing, which is easy to probe either for 3-point attempts, drives and backdoor lobs. But when a team is comfortable with the 1-3-1, the defense can be one of the most potent change-ups in the college game. Baylor used the 1-3-1 to advance to the Elite Eight in 2010, and Xavier is attempting a similar run this March.For the season, 33.6 percent of the Musketeers’ defensive possessions have featured the 1-3-1.1I went through each of the defensive possessions in which Xavier played zone using Synergy Sports Technology’s video tools and verified that all of the Musketeers’ zone plays came out of the 1-3-1. Last season, just 13 percent did. The only Division I team to rely on any zone more often this season has been Cincinnati (which uses the 2-3 variety); Xavier has used the 1-3-1 for 759 possessions, allowing just 0.797 points per defensive trip. Chris Mack doesn’t stray too far from his man-to-man roots with the base defense, but his personnel at XU is suited to making the 1-3-1 work. J.P. Macura, a wiry and lanky wing, has long arms atop the zone that can disrupt the vision of opposing guards, and Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett — both long for their respective positions — are adroitly positioned at the wings to help trap and further obscure passing lanes and shot attempts. Miami69317.55.8 Seton Hall73276.61.3 read more