Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: SUNDAY, October 22, 1995                   TAG: 9510230129
SECTION: SPORTS                    PAGE: C-10   EDITION: METRO 
SOURCE: From Associated Press reports
DATELINE:                                 LENGTH: Long


The Houston Rockets, the NBA's two-time defending champions, can claim another title: world champions.

With Robert Horry and Clyde Drexler leading a third-quarter charge, the Rockets pulled away and beat Italy's Buckler Bologna 126-112 on Saturday in the final of the McDonald's Championship in London.

The Rockets maintained the NBA's supremacy in the tournament, in its seventh edition and considered an unofficial world championship for clubs. No NBA team has lost a game in the six-team event.

``This victory meant we are now truly worthy of being called `world champions,''' said Drexler, who had 25 points and 10 assists and was voted the tournament's MVP

Hakeem Olajuwon, the MVP of the NBA Finals the past two seasons, sat out the tournament with back and elbow injuries.

In other basketball news:

Victor Alexander failed his physical because of an injured left ankle, voiding the deal that sent him from the Toronto Raptors to the Cleveland Cavaliers for guard Harold Miner, a second-round 1996 draft pick and cash.

BASEBALL La Russa close to a decision

Oakland manager Tony La Russa says he will decide by Tuesday whether he will stay with the Athletics or take a job with the St.Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals offered La Russa a multiyear contract to end his nine-year stint as the Athletics' manager and move to the National League.

``When you've been in a situation for a long time, you wonder if you've worn out your welcome and it's time to switch clubs,'' La Russa was quoted as saying in Saturday's San Francisco Chronicle. ``It's an agonizing decision, that's the best way to describe it,'' La Russa said.

The Cardinals reportedly have offered La Russa an annual salary of nearly $1.5 million. He reportedly makes $1.25 million a year with Oakland.

HOCKEY Canadiens hire coach and GM

The once-proud Montreal Canadiens, hoping to overcome an embarrassing start to the NHL season, hired Mario Tremblay as head coach and Rejean Houle as general manager.

Those jobs had been vacant since Tuesday, when club president Ronald Corey fired coach Jacques Demers and general manager Serge Savard. The Canadiens, who have won a record 23 Stanley Cups, are off to an 0-5 start, their worst in more than a half-century. Tremblay and Houle were members of the great Canadiens teams of the 1970s.

Despite saying they would wait until November, the Florida Panthers have begun looking outside South Florida for a new home for the NHL team as soon as next season.

Panthers officials say they are skeptical Dade County can find a way to build a new arena. The Panthers claim they are losing more than $1 million a month, mostly because of a poor lease at Miami Arena.

``Without a financially viable public sector plan for a new building ... it is now necessary for the Panthers to commence exploring options outside of South Florida for the 1996-97 NHL season,'' James Blosser, executive vice president of Huizenga Holdings, told the Metro-Dade County Commission in a letter.

Among the cities the team reportedly is considering are: Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; Portland, Ore.; and Charlotte, N.C.

Travis Roy, a promising freshman for defending NCAA champion Boston University, was in serious but stable condition, paralyzed from the neck down after crashing headfirst into the boards during a game Friday night against North Dakota.

Roy shattered a vertebra in his neck and injured his spinal cord. It was the first shift as a collegian for the 20-year-old from Yarmouth, Maine. Team doctor Anthony Schepsis said Roy will undergo surgery Monday, but the chances for regaining use of his limbs are not good.

GOLF U.S. team out of Dunhill Cup

An eight-foot putt by England's Howard Clark on the final hole knocked out Australia, and the United States finished at the bottom of its group at the Dunhill Cup in St.Andrews, Scotland.

In today's semifinals, Spain meets Zimbabwe and Ireland faces Scotland, with the final later today. The Americans, seeded No.1, capped a dismal weekend when team captain Ben Crenshaw left for home to have a kidney infection treated after a 2-1 loss to Canada.

Duffy Waldorf bogeyed two of the last five holes and watched his comfortable lead deteriorate as he shot a 1-under-par 71 to hold a one-stroke edge after three rounds of the Texas Open in San Antonio. Waldorf was at 203 through three rounds.

Jay Don Blake started the round two strokes back and shot a 70 to remain right behind Waldorf at New Cantera Golf Club. Justin Leonard started five strokes off the lead and was three strokes back after shooting a 69.

Larry Gilbert shot a 6-under-par 65 and held a three-stroke lead over Dave Stockton and Jim Colbert after two rounds of the $800,000 Ralphs Senior PGA Classic in Los Angeles.

Gilbert, bothered by the flu, posted six birdies and hasn't carded a bogey in either round. Stockton had a second-round 67, and Colbert, the first-round leader, had a 70. J.C. Snead of Hot Springs was at even-par 142.

TENNIS Sampras back in Lyon final

Three-time Lyon Open champion Pete Sampras again reached the final, defeating Todd Martin 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in Lyon, France. Fourth-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa beat second-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the other semifinal to earn a shot at the top seed today.

Top-seeded Thomas Muster of Austria defeated Australia's Todd Woodbridge 6-4, 7-5 to reach today's final of the CA Trophy indoor tournament in Vienna, Austria. Muster, ranked third in the world, will face unseeded Filip Dewulf of Belgium, who beat eighth-seeded Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in the other semifinal.

Top-seeded Michael Chang advanced to the final of the Salem Open with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over South Africa's David Nainkin in Hong Kong. Chang, seeking his third consecutive Salem Open title, will meet Renzo Furlan of Italy. Furlan beat Japan's top player, fourth-seeded Shuzo Matsuoka, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Defending champion Stefan Edberg of Sweden advanced to the final of the Marlboro Championships with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Spain's Sergi Bruguera in Hong Kong. Andrea Gaudenzi of Italy won the other semifinal when Australian teen-ager Mark Philippoussis retired with a back injury while trailing 2-0.

Mary Joe Fernandez and Amanda Coetzer won matches to advance to today's final of the Brighton (England) International Championship. Fourth-seeded Fernandez beat Kristie Boogert of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, and Coetzer ousted Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-3.

 by CNB