With qualifying being rained out and set by owner’s points, Martin Truex Jr. will start from the top spot for the third straight week for Monday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). After two practice sessions for this race in the books, we’ve dissected the numbers and 10-lap averages to offer a suggested lineup worthy of your Fantasy Live consideration as you go to make roster decisions for the sixth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of 2018.PLAY NOW: Set your Fantasy Live lineup | How the new Fantasy Live worksMORE: Fantasy analysis for Martinsville | Driver stats | Full lineup | 10-lap averagesRJ Kraft’s revised Fantasy Live lineup following practices and the lineup being set:1: Kyle Busch2: Denny Hamlin3: Brad Keselowski4: Clint Bowyer5: Joey LoganoGarage: Jimmie JohnsonAnalysis: With the field set by owner points after rain washed out qualifying, I am going hard after stage points. That means minimum changes for me in my original lineup and it’s in the name of track position. I am swapping out AJ Allmendinger for Joey Logano. Allmendinger will start 25th, while Logano will line up third and has a solid Martinsville history. I feel pretty confident in the Team Penske driver’s ability to bag some stage points — he has the sixth-most in the series through five races.I am setting my lineup by starting position, which means Johnson to the garage. However, having a nine-time winner at “The Paperclip” is a really nice insurance policy to have tucked away to swap in. Busch, Hamlin and Keselowski were picks I was not moving away from this weekend, and Bowyer was in the top six 10-lap averages in both practice sessions to firm up my belief that he will be in the mix here.My bonus picks will include a stage win for Martin Truex Jr. and one for Kyle Busch. I am leaning toward Ford for the manufacturer winner, but still very much debating the race-winner pick.
Magnolia Hotshots’ Jio Jalalon (2nd from right) guards the ball from NLEX Road Warriors defenders. PBAMANILA – Magnolia Hotshots drew strengths from Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon in the fourth period as it cruised to a 106-99 victory over NLEX Road Warriors in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.With the scores tied at 87-all, Sangalang came up with consecutive conversions to give Hotshots the lead. Jalalon then followed suit with his scoring to pull them to a 97-89 edge.Road Warriors rallied to within 92-98 on a conversion by JR Quiñahan but Hotshots came up with a finishing run from Rome dela Rosa and Sangalang for a 104-95 lead with 50 seconds left.Jalalon led the way with 25 points, including four 3-point conversions, while Sangalang contributed 24 markers for Hotshots, which moved up in the race-to-four semifinals series to 2-1.Dela Rosa also had his best game in the playoffs with 17 points, while Paul Lee contributed 14 markers for Hotshots, which played without injured Marc Pingris and Justin Melton.“We adjusted a little bit on our defense and we tried to move the ball,” said Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero. “We did a good job on defending their guards, especially doon sa mga guards nila na nag-ke-create.”Rookie Kiefer Ravena led NLEX with 20 points, while Kevin Alas contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, and Quiñahan finished with 13 markers.In another league development, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial slapped a P25,000 fine on San Miguel Beermen forward Arwind Santos for his endgame comment in their Game 3 loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings on Tuesday night.Santos was meted a P20,000 fine for “statements detrimental to the league” and a P5,000 penalty for a flagrant foul 1 committed against Ginebra center Japeth Aguilar in the third quarter./PN[/av_textblock][/av_one_full] Magnolia Hotshots’ Jio Jalalon (2nd from right) guards the ball from NLEX Road Warriors defenders. PBA [av_one_full first min_height=” vertical_alignment=” space=” custom_margin=” margin=’0px’ padding=’0px’ border=” border_color=” radius=’0px’ background_color=” src=” background_position=’top left’ background_repeat=’no-repeat’ animation=”][av_heading heading=’Jalalon, Sangalang lead Magnolia past NLEX’ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote’ size=’30’ subheading_active=’subheading_below’ subheading_size=’18’ padding=’10’ color=” custom_font=” av-medium-font-size-title=” av-small-font-size-title=” av-mini-font-size-title=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” admin_preview_bg=”]BY ADRIAN STEWART CO[/av_heading][av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” admin_preview_bg=”]Thursday, March 15, 2018[/av_textblock][av_textblock size=’18’ font_color=” color=” av-medium-font-size=” av-small-font-size=” av-mini-font-size=” admin_preview_bg=”]
Purple haze: Maria Sharapova stretches for a shot during her 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) win over Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Wednesday. | AP Sharapova, making her seventh appearance here with titles in 2005 and 2009, rolled out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Safarova bounced back and broke the Russian former world No. 1 at triple breakpoint in the fifth game.The pair played a see-saw battle, tying it twice at 4-4 and 5-5, and Safarova broke Sharapova again in the 11th game before her serve deserted her in the next game to force the extras.“After winning the first set, and going up 3-0 in the second, I think I became a little frustrated. I thought I had the momentum,” said Sharapova, adding that she struggled against the lefty’s serve.“The spin comes from a different direction (than right-handers), and it takes a little longer to get used to. When her serve is on, it can become quite tricky,” she said.Sharapova took a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak, but Safarova rallied to tie it at 4-4. The Russian pulled ahead and served out the match with an ace on the final point to finish in 1 hour, 43 minutes. Sharapova will next face Australian No. 8 seed Samantha Stosur, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova in another third-round match.Asked her prospects on facing Stosur in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Sharapova said, “I have a good record against her. But she is certainly a solid player; uses a lot of spin. It will be important to keep improving and play at a higher level against her.”Stosur, ranked ninth in the world and making her sixth appearance here, improved to 3-0 for her career against the world 13th-ranked Cibulkova, who played for the fourth time in Tokyo. Stosur broke her opponent three times and saved four out of five break points.Italy’s Sara Errani, the No. 6 seed, took advantage of France’s Marion Bartoli’s errant service game to rally in a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win. Ninth-seed Bartoli shot herself down with 12 double faults.“It was a different environment than I’m used to and a faster surface, so it was harder to play my game. I didn’t start well, but from the second set after the first three games, she was more tired and I played a little better,” said Errani.Russian Nadia Petrova, the 17th seed, outlasted Croat Petra Martic 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 to reach the final eight. World No. 2 Maria Sharapova staved off a strong challenge from Lucie Safarova to beat her Czech opponent in a straight sets 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) victory on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open.The career Gram Slam titleholder dominated the first set, but the world 17th-ranked player dug deep in her energy reserves to force a tiebreaker in the second on a balmy day on center court at Ariake Tennis Forest Park. RELATED PHOTOS GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5