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Elasto Painters, Beermen collide as PBA resumes (October 21, 2014)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]


MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine and San Miguel Beer collide in an early meeting between the two powerhouse squads in the PBA Philippine Cup eliminations Tuesday even as retooled Globalport tests newcomer NLEX in an interesting doubleheader at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters, runners-up to eventual Grand Slam champion San Mig Coffee, now Purefoods, last season, and the Beermen slug it out in the 7 p.m. contest for the right to join rookie team KIA and Barangay Ginebra for the early lead.

The Elasto Painters will be starting a fresh era with former Rookie of the Year Paul Lee as they try to get off to a good start in a campaign to win a first all-Filipino crown for mercurial head coach Yeng Guiao.

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NLEX makes PBA debut vs Globalport (October 21, 2014)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]


MANILA, Philippines – NLEX takes its turn to make its PBA debut against Globalport in the second play date of the 2014-15 Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Tuesday.

Action swings over to the Big Dome following the blockbuster Season 40 inaugurals at the Philippine Arena marked by victories by Kia Motors and Barangay Ginebra over Blackwater and Talk n Text, respectively.

Tuesday’s protagonists are all eager to make a triumphant season start, especially the Road Warriors, who hope to match the Sorento’s feat against the Elite.

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Kevin Alas of Talk 'N Text. Sports5/Paolo Papa

Highly-touted Talk ‘N Text rookie Kevin Alas made his PBA debut against Ginebra last Sunday and already he’s impressed a number of observers, including his own team captain Jimmy Alapag.

Alas took until the fourth quarter before scoring his first points as a pro, but they came in bunches as he finished with 10 points in the ballgame.

The veteran Alapag, who is expected to take Alas under his wing, wasn’t too surprised with the performance of the young player currently.

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Barangay Ginebra's Greg Slaughter reacts after hitting a big shot against Talk 'N Text. Sports5/Paolo Papa

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel entered last season full of promise but ended up disappointing its legions of fans. They return this year with similarly high hopes, only this time they’re going to go out and prove that it’s for real.

They’re off to a great start in doing just that after bludgeoning an undermanned but still loaded Talk ‘N Text side in their Philippine Cup opener on Sunday.

The Kings understand that its far too early to do any celebrating, although it’s hard not to be a little happy with how well they looked against the Tropang Texters.

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Kia's LA Revilla leads the court during a fast break play against Blackwater. Photo by Mark Cristino for

MANILA, Philippines – The spotlight was firmly on KIA playing coach Manny Pacquiao as the 40th season of the PBA opened Sunday, but Sorento point guard LA Revilla had stolen his thunder by the time the final buzzer sounded.

In their PBA debut against the Blackwater Elite, Pacquiao started the game for KIA and played just under seven minutes, tallying two turnovers and a foul and not attempting a single shot.

But it was Revilla who fueled KIA's run in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in the period to help the Sorento rally from a nine-point halftime deficit and take control of the game.

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LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers says Chicago Bulls are better (October 21, 2014)
Brian Windhorst [ Source: ESPN ]


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Less than two weeks before their first regular-season meeting, LeBron James believes the Chicago Bulls are better than his Cleveland Cavaliers.

The two teams play Monday night in a preseason game at Ohio State University. The Cavs are calling it their most important preseason game, not just because they're facing a potential Eastern Conference rival but because James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will start together for the first time against an NBA team.

"[The Bulls] are a team that's much better than us right now just off chemistry," James said. "They've been together for a while, we've got a long way to go."

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 Kevin Alas did not score until the fourth quarter of his debut game. PBA/Nuki Sabio

 Talk 'N Text rookies Kevin Alas and Matt Ganuelas Rosser made their PBA debut before a 52,000-strong crowd at Philippine Arena on Sunday, and against fan favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to boot.

The two rookies had contrasting reactions to the unique circumstances.

Alas, the No. 2 pick overall in the PBA draft, admitted battling through first game jitters.

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Pinoy fans love underdog Kia (October 21, 2014)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]


MANILA, Philippines - The cheers are always louder for the underdog because it’s not as much fun rooting for the favorite. And so it was for the Kia Sorento as the expansion team battled back from a 13-point deficit to stun Blackwater, 80-66, in the first game of the PBA’s 40th season before a record crowd of 52,612 at the Philippine Arena last Sunday.

To be sure, Kia was not expected to win, at least on paper. The Sorento lost to Blackwater, 88-77, in a preseason game in Biñan and showed up for its PBA debut with six rookies, six undrafted players, journeymen who never got a break in previous PBA stints and a playing coach whose other profession as an athlete is boxing. Blackwater’s roster listed nine first round draft picks and the Ever Bilena franchise has glowing pedigree with a championship tradition in the PBL, WBPL and the PBA D-League.

Kia playing coach and WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao was the shortest of the players from both sides. But he was clearly the most popular and recognizable figure on the floor. HBO sent a three-man crew to shoot the 5-6 Pacquiao’s first official pro basketball appearance. History was made that day as a new record for attendance in a basketball game was set in the country and Pacquiao became the oldest PBA rookie ever at 35.

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Danny Ainge says the Celtics have preached patience with Rajon Rondo. The team set a recovery time of six to eight weeks for the point guard's broken hand. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said there's a possibility that Rajon Rondo could be ready for game action on opening night, but the point guard cautioned against setting a firm timeline while he recovers from a fractured left hand.

Rondo underwent a reevaluation last week that showed encouraging progress, but he has not been cleared for contact with nine days to go before the Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets to open the 2014-15 season on Oct. 29.

"I don't know. I still haven't had any contact yet," Rondo said when asked about playing on opening night. "The opener is a little bit over a week away. I don't want to set goals; I just want to go as my hand heals."

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Manny Pacquiao of Kia Sorento. Marquez

MANILA – World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao launched his pro basketball career in the Philippines on Sunday in a scoreless debut spent mostly as a cheerleader.

The ring legend, the oldest and shortest player on the floor, had two turnovers and a foul as starting shooting guard for the Kia team, failing to get off a shot in his first Philippine Basketball Association game.

“It doesn’t matter. What is important is the team won,” said the 35-year-old basketball rookie, who has won world boxing titles in eight different weight divisions.

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