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Sports fast coming back to life

By Al S. Mendoza

 

THERE is the so-called backdoor sweep and gentleman’s sweep in basketball.

Both will happen usually when there’s a mismatch.

In the ongoing NBA playoffs in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the first backdoor sweep materialized between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers.

After the Blazers beat the Lakers in Game One of their first-round playoffs in the Western Conference, the Lakers swept the next four games to win the series 4-1.

That’s the backdoor sweep because the Lakers, heavily favored to prevail after emerging as the West’s No. 1 in the regular season, “lost” first to the Blazers before sweeping the next four games in a come-from-behind victory.

The gentleman’s sweep was recorded by the Miami Heat over the Milwaukee Bucks in the East playoffs.

Up 3-0, the Heat “lost” Game Four by way of a gift to the Bucks, who lost 2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to an ankle injury in the series.

Practically just going through the motions in Game Five, the Heat easily defeated the top-seeded but undermanned Bucks in completing the 4-1 win in the East playoffs.

Miami awaits the winner of the Boston-Toronto tussle in a winner-take-all Game Seven after the defending champion Raptors rallied to tie the series at 3-3 before the weekend.

As we go to press, the Lakers led the Rockets 2-1 and the Los Angeles Clippers were also 2-1 up over the Denver Nuggets in the West wars.

In the U.S. Open Tennis, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was disqualified this week when he swatted a ball into the throat of a lineswoman.

Although it was unintentional, Djokovic was nonetheless canned because he hit the ball outward of the court without looking.

Rules say a player gets disqualified if he/she hits anyone whether accidental or not when the ball is smacked deliberately, and done without caution.

Credit to Djokovic, who struck the ball out of frustration, as he was profuse in his apology to the lineswoman, who escaped serious injury although she winced in pain right after she got hit.

He did not appeal his disqualification.

Djokovic’s exit left the U.S. Open minus the game’s Big Three—a first in any Grand Slam.

Rafael Nadal skipped the U.S. Open, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

He promised to return shortly in the French Open, where he is the undisputed king for so long now.

Roger Federer is recuperating from a knee surgery.

The Australian Tennis Open was held last January, just before the COVID-19 struck the world and wiped out sporting events, including the Tokyo Olympics in July, the Masters golf in Augusta, Georgia, in April and the Wimbledon in London in June.

Closer to home, stirrings of life in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) are up as San Miguel Corporation’s Ginebra, Magnolia and San Miguel Beer have started individual practices like the other nine teams in the league.

The PBA Philippine Cup, halted six months ago after just one game that saw San Miguel Beer defeat Magnolia on March 11, was penciled to resume on October 9—health protocols permitting.

With normalcy seemingly crawling back to life, it is highly anticipated that total active sports will resume in no time.

As always, hope springs eternal.

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