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James Yap and Marc Pingris of Purefoods Star. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Purefoods Star Hotshots defensive ace Marc Pingris makes his return to the squad against the GlobalPort Batang Pier in PBA Philippine Cup action Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The still winless Purefoods and GlobalPort collide at 7 p.m. after the opening match between the Alaska Aces and the Meralco Bolts at 4:15 p.m. Both games will be aired live on TV5.

After taking a rest from his grueling stint with the national team, Pingris returns to help the Purefoods’ decimated frontline which already saw the loss of up-and-coming forward Ian Sangalang (knee) and star James Yap (right calf) to injuries.

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NBA

SAN ANTONIO -- NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is set to make his season debut for the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.

The Spurs made the announcement on Thursday. Leonard missed the final six preseason games and the season opener against Dallas due to an infection in his right eye.

The 23-year-old Leonard averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the Spurs last season while shooting 52 percent from the field. But he really blossomed in the playoffs as the Spurs rolled to their fifth championship.

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NBA

CLEVELAND -- Major League Baseball enjoyed the two greatest words in all of sports with a Game 7 in the World Series on Wednesday, but LeBron James believes his regular-season opener with the Cleveland Cavaliers has the potential to draw even more attention.

"For me, I know all of us shouldn't take this moment for granted," James said after shootaround Thursday in advance of the Cavs' home game against the New York Knicks. "This is probably one of the biggest sporting events that is up there ever."

Hyperbole? To some extent. But one can hardly blame James for getting caught up in the hype of his return. At the same time James was speaking to reporters at Quicken Loans Arena, Nike was busy unveiling a 10-story banner of his likeness just a couple of blocks away.

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Alaska, Meralco duel for solo PH Cup lead (October 31, 2014)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Calvin Abueva of Alaska. Sports5/Paul Mata

Fresh off high-wire victories, Alaska and Meralco slug it out today for the solo lead even as Globalport tries to extend defending champion Purefoods’ woes in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With 2-0 records following strikingly similar escapes on Tuesday night, the Aces and the Bolts take the Big Dome floor in the 4:15 p.m. contest, before the Batang Pier seek their first-ever winning streak under Pido Jarencio at 7.

Calvin Abueva and Cliff Hodge, a pair of third-year power forwards, will be coming off career games in leading their respective teams after logging 26 points and 22 rebounds and 28 and 18, respectively.

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Cleveland Cavaliers near extension with Anderson Varejao (October 31, 2014)
Marc Stein [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are nearing agreement on a contract extension with long-serving big man Anderson Varejao, league sources told ESPN.com on Thursday.

Sources said the Cavaliers and Varejao -- one of LeBron James' most beloved teammates -- are closing in on a new three-year deal worth an estimated $30 million that would kick in starting with the 2015-16 season.

Varejao has spent his entire NBA career with the Cavaliers after Cleveland acquired his rights on draft night in 2004.

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An ailing Jose Calderon leaves New York with only two true point guards on its roster. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

CLEVELAND -- New York Knicks point guard Jose Calderon will miss two to three weeks because of a right calf strain, the team announced Thursday.

An MRI revealed the injury. Shane Larkin will likely start in Calderon's absence Thursday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Calderon's injury leaves the Knicks thin at point guard. Pablo Prigioni, 37, and Larkin, a second-year guard, are the only two true point guards on the roster. The Knicks may ask combo guard Iman Shumpert to handle the ball with Calderon out or may seek to add a point guard in free agency.

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D-League

MANILA, Philippines – GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio apparently got close to losing his job when the Batang Pier lost their opening game to the NLEX Road Warriors.

Fortunately, Alex Cabagnot and top draft pick Stanley Pringle gave GlobalPort a 91-81 victory over Barako Bull on Sunday.

“He’s under assessment,” GlobalPort team owner Mikee Romero said in PBA.ph. “Pero kung na-zero-two kami, magkakaalaman na agad.”

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MP Hotel five stuns Wangs; Cagayan, JP repulse foes (October 31, 2014)
Jasmine W. Payo [ Source: Inquirer ]

JACKSON Corpuz (1) of Breadstory tries to control his fall after a bungled fake by Jumbo Plastic’s Dexter Maiquez in yesterday’s game. Story on A22 AUGUST DELA CRUZ

The rookie squad owned by Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao pulled off an early surprise in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup yesterday at Ynares Sports Arena.

MP Hotel spoiled Wangs Basketball’s bid for the solo lead with an 87-70 rout anchored on JR Sumido, Jessie Collado and Rene Pacquiao, a cousin of the eight-division world boxing champion.

Cagayan Valley and Jumbo Plastic slipped past separate opponents in the other games.

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Kemba Walker wants to be in the middle of Charlotte's turnaround. David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker has seen NBA basketball in Charlotte at its worst. He's willing to stick around to see it at its best.

The diminutive point guard said that's why he agreed to a contract extension Thursday which allows him to remain with the Hornets instead of testing the free-agent market.

"Now that we're a good team, I want to keep us good," Walker said Thursday at a news conference at the team's downtown arena. "I want to be in the middle of that."

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PBA to allow Asian players as 2nd imports in Governors' Cup (October 31, 2014)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

D-League

The PBA has approved the proposal to allow Asian cagers to play for the local teams as imports in the 2015 Governors' Cup.

The decision was made final after a unanimous agreement in the PBA Board of Governors' meeting on Thursday, according to the league's official website.

"This is clearly experimental on the part of the PBA, with the end in view of maximizing the marketing value of the PBA, not just within the country, but within the region," said PBA commissioner Chito Salud.

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Calvin Abueva leads Alaska comeback, beats Talk ’N Text with layup at buzzer
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Austin Trout to fight Luis Grajeda on Dec. 11 in Dan Goossen tribute event
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili lead Spurs in narrow win over Mavericks
Top Seed Kumkhum Upended In Ningbo
Playoff Preview: Hi-Tech Bangkok City vs. JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers
Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott questions if Dwight Howard is serious about winning titles
Chicago Bulls couldn't have asked for a better season opener
Suns rout Lakers 119-99 despite Kobe's 30 points
Giants close out Royals to win World Series