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June Mar Fajardo. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

The last time someone won back-to-back MVP awards in the PBA, it was ‘Lakay’ Danny Ildefonso raising the roofs off of arenas with his stellar play.

Now, 14 long years later, another player is looking to match his feat, and it’s someone close to Ildefonso’s heart – his old protégé June Mar Fajardo.

‘Lakay’, who won the award in 2000 and 2001 while playing for San Miguel, said he would not be surprised if Fajardo, the reigning PBA MVP, accomplishes the same after the 6-foot-10 center helped his team reach the Final Four after beating Ildefonso’s Meralco team, 102-86, in their Governors’ Cup quarterfinal duel on Monday.

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Larry Nance Jr., right, says until Kobe tells him, "I'm Kobe to you," he will continue to call the Lakers star "Mr. Bryant" or "sir." Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers first-round draft pick Larry Nance Jr. said he was "terrified" of his new teammate Kobe Bryant's potential reaction to a tweet Nance sent in 2012 that referred to a sexual assault case involving Bryant.

"You hear all the stories about how Kobe, or Mr. Bryant, is so intense and just always on edge," Nance said when he and the team's other draft picks were introduced at the Lakers' practice facility on Monday.

"I was nervous to send him a long message and then just get an 'Okay,' or not a response at all. I'm just so, so glad he handled that in the manner he did. I still could be up here with a stomach in my knot, or a knot in my stomach. But he did a terrific job and I can't thank him enough for forgiving me."

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The Charlotte Hornets did not tender Bismack Biyombo a qualifying offer, making him a free agent as of July 1, sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Biyombo, a 6-foot-9 center, played in 64 games and averaged 4.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 19.4 minutes in his fourth season with the Hornets. Drafted seventh overall in 2011, the restricted free agent is still just 22.

With Al Jefferson exercising his player option to remain with the Hornets, Charlotte added more frontcourt depth earlier in June when it traded Lance Stephenson for center Spencer Hawes and forward Matt Barnes.

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Ildefonso student Fajardo believes mentor still has it (June 30, 2015)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

June Mar Fajardo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

San Miguel beating Meralco was a bittersweet win for June Mar Fajardo.

Though the Beermen advanced to the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the expense of the Bolts, that also meant a possible end to the historic career of one Danny Ildefonso.

Though the news of Ildefonso’s retirement plans caught Fajardo in shock, he believes that his mentor still has what it takes to compete in the PBA.

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Jordan Hill's play was one of the few bright spots for the Lakers last season. Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will not be picking up their $9 million team option on forward Jordan Hill, league sources told ESPN.

The Lakers have an interest in re-signing Hill during free agency, but the move was made at the moment to help add salary-cap space as the Lakers enter free agency in pursuit of several big-name players, sources said.

Hill was in a tight spot, as the Lakers face a logjam at the forward position with Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly currently on their roster. There is also Ed Davis, who declined his $1.1 million player option for a longer, more lucrative deal.

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Jarell Martin says he has stress fracture in his foot (June 30, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]


MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Grizzlies first-round draft pick Jarell Martin says he has a stress fracture in his foot that will prevent him from playing in any summer league games.

Martin and second-round pick Andrew Harrison were introduced Monday. Martin says he "overworked my body" throughout the pre-draft process.

Martin says: "We'll see when we get back how things are going, but overall I'm getting better. It is very tough, but we've got to look for later on down the road and do what's best."

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Norman Black. INQUIRER.net PHOTO

Meralco saw another season come to an end earlier than it would’ve wanted as it couldn’t complete an upset of No. 2 San Miguel Beer in their quarterfinals matchup on Monday night.

But another exit before the semifinals won’t determine the kind of year the Bolts in just the first season of Norman Black as head coach.

“It’s a learning experience,” Meralco forward Cliff Hodge told INQUIRER.net after posting five points, seven rebounds and two steals in a 102-86 loss to the Beermen, whose starting five led by reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo was just too much for the hardworking Bolts to overcome. “We’re trying to rebuild with coach Norman’s philosophies so it’s a good learning experience.”

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Marreese Speights will be back with the Warriors next season as the team exercised their club option on his contract. AP Photo/Ben Margot

The Golden State Warriors on Monday exercised their $3.8 million club option on Marreese Speights' contract for the 2015-16 season.

Speights, 27, appeared in 76 games (nine starts) for the Warriors last season, averaging 10.4 points on 49.2 percent shooting and 4.3 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game. After an especially strong first half of the season, Speights drew some consideration for Sixth Man of the Year, finishing seventh in the voting.

His numbers dipped some in the playoffs, as he averaged just 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 6.7 minutes, missing eight games with a calf strain.

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Luol Deng opts in to stay next season with Miami Heat (June 30, 2015)
Marc Stein [ Source: ESPN ]

Luol Deng averaged 14 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat last season. Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

Luol Deng will exercise his $10.1 million player option to remain with the Miami Heat, his agent, Herb Rudoy, told ESPN on Monday.

Deng, 30, held the option for the final season of a two-year deal he signed with the Heat in the aftermath of LeBron James' defection last summer.

Sources told ESPN earlier Monday that the Heat were fearful Deng would opt for free agency along with Dwyane Wade, who is widely expected to become a free agent Wednesday.

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Ildefonso keeps options open for PBA return after Bolts’ ouster (June 30, 2015)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Meralco Bolts’ veteran Danny Ildefonso. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

After a storied 17-year career which has given him eight championships, two Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year plum in 1998 and several stints with the national team, is Danny Ildefonso ready to finally hang up his sneakers?

The 38-year-old is keeping his options open.

“Depende kung kailangan pa ako ng Meralco, baka mag-extend pa ako. Kung kailangan pa ko, lalaro pa ko,” he said after Meralco’s season-ending defeat to San Miguel on Monday.

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