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June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

League leaders San Miguel Beermen and Alaska Aces aim to keep pace with each other as they take on separate foes in PBA Philippine Cup action Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen face the Meralco Bolts at 7 p.m. while the Aces take on the NLEX Road Warriors at 4:15 p.m. Both matches will be aired live on TV5.

San Miguel Beer and Alaska are currently sharing first place with an identical 7-1 slate, and they are in a good position to clinch the top two spots which guarantee semifinal seats.

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NBA

The New York Knicks will likely be short-handed for Friday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The team has listed forward Carmelo Anthony as doubtful for Friday's game due to back spasms.

Anthony said on Wednesday that he remained "stiff" and "sore" due to the spasms, which surfaced on Monday night late in the first half of the Knicks' loss to the Houston Rockets.

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Aces try to stay on top, takes on NLEX (November 28, 2014)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

ALASKA hopes to draw another monster game from Calvin Abueva. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

LOCKED in a heated race for the No. 1 playoff spot, Alaska clashes with the NLEX Road Warriors today as the elimination round of the PBA Philippine Cup enters its homestretch at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

The Aces take the Big Dome floor first at 4:15 p.m. against NLEX before the Beermen battle Meralco at 7 p.m. as they try to keep in step with each other and creep closer to an automatic Final Four berth.

Finishing in the top 2 in the tournament would give them the first a seat in the semifinals. The next eight teams will go through a first phase in the quarterfinals with the four survivors playing in the second.

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Jarencio: From Globalport coach to team consultant (November 28, 2014)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

D-League

PIDO Jarencio yesterday formally bid his Globalport players goodbye as coach yesterday, extolling them to play much harder to reach their goals in the PBA.

The colorful Jarencio was made a team consultant Tuesday night, less than an hour after the Batang Pier lost to powerhouse San Miguel Beer, 95-69, in the Philippine Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Instead of sulking, Jarencio went to the team’s practice at Moro Lorenzo gym and talked to his former players.

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Adeogun keys Lions’ victory; San Beda a win from PCCL title (November 28, 2014)
Jasmine W. Payo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Local Basketball

OLA Adeogun hit clutch shots in the closing seconds as San Beda tripped La Salle, 88-81, yesterday to move within a win of the 2014 National Collegiate Championship title of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL).

Bucking foul trouble, Adeogun buried the Red Lions’ last seven points in the final 46 seconds to lift the five-time NCAA champions past the defending champion Green Archers in Game 1 of their best-of-three title series at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

“He (Adeogun) felt embarrassed in our last game, so he said he’ll make up for it,” said acting coach Adonis Tierra after the Lions avenged their 56-61 loss to the Archers in the Elite Eight round.

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Manny Pacquiao hopes to inspire Kia in return as player-coach (November 28, 2014)
Agence France-Presse [ Source: Interaksyon ]

Kia Sorento head coach Manny Pacquiao talking to his players in the dugout. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao resumed his Philippine pro basketball career on Wednesday with a crushing defeat that extended his team’s losing streak to eight games.

Three days after dominating American Chris Algieri in the ring, Pacquiao suited up as coach of the Kia Sorento team but did not see action on the court.

Pacquiao’s team lost by eleven points to the more experienced and more popular Purefoods Star Hotshots after leading by as many as six points in the third quarter.

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Manny Pacquiao of Kia Sorento. Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Tim Cone has won the most championships in PBA history, but on Wednesday night, he was starstruck by his coaching opponent.

The Purefoods coach was taking on Kia, helmed by Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao.

"I was just thrilled to shake his hand," said the 18-time PBA champion after leading the Star Hotshots to a hard-earned victory over the Sorento, where Pacquiao serves as playing coach.

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Hapee whips Cebuana (November 28, 2014)
Theodore P. Jurado [ Source: Journal ]

D-League

STILL formidable even without its San Beda College standouts, Hapee Toothpaste hacked out a 72-66 win over Cebuana Lhuillier to stay unbeaten in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup yesterday at the TIP Gym in Quiapo, Manila.

Settling with just eight players, the Fresh Fighters quelled an end-game rally from the Gems to book their fifth consecutive win.

Bobby Ray Parks led Hapee with his 23 points, seven rebounds and two steals Garvo Lanete shot eight of his 12 markers in the fourth period.

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What James Yap told Manny Pacquiao after Purefoods-Kia (November 28, 2014)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

 James Yap and Manny Pacquiao share a moment on the court. Nuki Sabio

Even before Kia playing coach Manny Pacquiao stepped foot on a PBA hardcourt, the Filipino ring icon was already good friends with Purefoods superstar James Yap.

The two men crossed paths again on Wednesday when Yap's Star Hotshots defeated Pacquiao's Sorento.

After the game, Yap made sure to approach his buddy.

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Lance Stephenson of Charlotte Hornets benched in 4th quarter again (November 28, 2014)
Michael Wallace [ Source: ESPN ]

Preseason injuries and struggles to find his rhythm have made Lance Stephenson's transition to Charlotte much more difficult than some anticipated after he signed a three-year, $27 million deal. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hornets coach Steve Clifford believes Lance Stephenson's problems adjusting during his first season in Charlotte are partly due to the guard's struggles to live up to external expectations.

"To be fair, one of the things that's made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar," Clifford said Wednesday. "He's not a star. He's a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years."

Clifford's comments came after Stephenson was left on the bench for the entire fourth quarter for a second consecutive game, this time during Wednesday's 105-97 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers that extended the Hornets' losing streak to seven straight games.

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