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Ginebra returns to action vs NLEX (February 12, 2016)
[ Source: Interaksyon ]

LA Tenorio of Brgy. Ginebra. Inquirer.net photo

Crowd favorites Barangay Ginebra San Miguel plunge back to action against the NLEX Road Warriors as both teams make their respective debuts in the OPPO PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Gin Kings and the Road Warriors clash in the nightcap at 7 p.m. after the opening game between the GlobalPort Batang Pier and the Mahindra Enforcers at 4:15 p.m. Both games will be aired live on TV5.

Ginebra is aiming to turn things around this new conference after getting booted out in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals last year.

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Dwight Howard is expected to bypass the $23.3 million he's scheduled to earn in 2016-17 to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets, who enter the All-Star break as one of the NBA's most disappointing teams at 27-28 overall, have begun contacting teams about a potential trade of veteran big man Dwight Howard, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

League executives told the website that Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, and the Rockets are working together on potential destinations for Howard, an eight-time All-Star who turned 30 in December.

Fegan, in a statement to ESPN on Thursday, said: "I'm not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to Dwight Howard. What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I." 

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 GlobalPort's Stanley Pringle goes up against Brgy. Ginebra defenders in this file photo. PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – GlobalPort, a team on the rise largely behind the super backcourt tandem of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, takes on Mahindra to open its campaign in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

The Batang Pier, coming from a breakthrough Final Four finish in the recent all-Filipino tourney, are the odds-on pick versus the Enforcers although they’ve had a short preparation for the mid-season tourney with import Brian Williams.

GlobalPort and Mahindra clash at 4:15 p.m.

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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered another torn labrum in his surgically repaired right shoulder, the Hornets announced. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a torn labrum in his surgically repaired right shoulder, the team announced Thursday.

The Hornets said he will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break.

The diagnosis was revealed by an MRI exam that was scheduled after Kidd-Gilchrist left in the third quarter of Wednesday night's game with what the team called a dislocated shoulder.

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Phoenix Fuel Masters logo.

MANILA -- Import Kenny Adeleke is optimistic about the chances of his team, newcomers Phoenix Fuel Masters, as they start their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign against NLEX next week.

The 6-foot-9 Nigerian believes he can work well with the Fuel Masters, led by JC Intal.

“I think we have a good team,” he told the PBA website.

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Bryant's swan song to light up All-Star Weekend (February 12, 2016)
Jahmal Corner [ Source: Reuters ]

 Feb 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports -

Kobe Bryant has spent a career tormenting the Toronto fan base and now he is set to entertain it as the NBA's All-Star Weekend descends on Canada for the first time and welcomes Bryant for his swan song.

Set to play in his 18th and final All-Star Game on Sunday, a kinder and gentler Bryant will continue a farewell tour that will conclude his legendary 20-season tenure in the league.

The Toronto faithful harbor memories of Bryant registering 81 points against the Raptors in Los Angeles 10 years ago, but in this exhibition of stars they will cheer him on to rediscover old magic and perhaps claim a record fifth All-Star MVP award.

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De Ocampo’s return from back injury sparks TNT (February 12, 2016)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

Ranidel De Ocampo vs Reil Cervantes. PBA IMAGES

It only took Ranidel de Ocampo 23 seconds into the new conference to remind TNT of what it had missed when a freak gym accident ended his Philippine Cup stint.

De Ocampo scored the first basket of the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup and went on to finish with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in his first game back from back injury that sidelined him for almost four months.

“We really missed him last conference but now he’s back,” TNT head coach Jong Uichico told reporters after a 108-102 win over Blackwater on Wednesday.

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DeMar DeRozan planning to stick with Raptors (February 12, 2016)
Marc Stein [ Source: ESPN ]

DeMar DeRozan, an All-Star for the second time, says he wants to stay in Toronto to keep building on the Raptors' success. Claus Andersen/Getty Images

TORONTO -- Eastern Conference All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan says it will be "pretty tough" for interested teams to steal him away from the Raptors in free agency this summer.

"My whole mindset has always been this is home for me," DeRozan said in an interview that will air in full on Saturday's Meet the All-Stars show on ESPN Radio at 5:30 p.m. "I never think otherwise unless it's brought up to me, or you see things, or people ask you about certain things.

"This has always been home to me. I took pride in putting on this Toronto Raptors jersey since I've been drafted here. And my whole goal was to get this team to the point where it is now. And I feel I've been a major key to that."

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Barroca admits Hotshots lack finishing kick (February 12, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Mark Barroca tries to swat Chris Newsome’s shot. PBA IMAGES

Almost but not quite. That was the theme of Mark Barroca’s night on Wednesday.

Just like Star, which fell to Meralco, 90-86, to start the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday, the shifty playmaker also failed to complete what could have been his first career triple-double.

He fell one rebound and assist short, only finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists.

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Patrick Beverley reinjures left ankle, will miss Skills Challenge (February 12, 2016)
Calvin Watkins [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley will not defend his Skills Challenge title this weekend at the NBA All-Star Game because he reinjured his sprained left ankle, according to a source.

After the Rockets' 116-103 loss to Portland on Wednesday night, Beverley was sitting at his locker icing the ankle. Beverley said he wanted to attend All-Star weekend in Toronto but needed to see how he felt physically on Thursday morning before a final decision was made.

Beverley reinjured the ankle less than a minute into the second half but remained in the game. He finished with seven points in 31 minutes.

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