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Grand Prix S.A.R La Princesse Lalla Meryem - TBD
United States Christina McHale
Slovakia Daniela Hantuchova
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Italy (3) Flavia Pennetta
Serbia Bojana Jovanovski
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Spain (1) Garbine Muguruza
Russian Federation Daria Kasatkina
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France Pauline Parmentier
Germany Laura Siegemund
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Spain Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Australia (7) Nick Kyrgios
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Ukraine Sergiy Stakhovsky
Russian Federation Mikhail Ledovskikh
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Jayson Castro going head-to-head with Paul Lee in Game 6 action. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

PBA commissioner Chito Salud assured on Monday that the no-tomorrow Game Seven clash between protagonists Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title will be as “trouble-free” as possible.

In a series that has seen tensions boil over on several occasions, league officials are confident that the drama will remain mostly inside the court in what they expect to be an all-time classic of a match.

“Adequate security measures will be in place appropriate for a championship series and a Game Seven. As hotly contested as this series is, the PBA has experienced many other equally hotly contested and emotional championship series both from the teams’ and fans’ sides,” Salud wrote in a text message.

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Jae Crowder has ACL sprain, won't need surgery (April 28, 2015)
Chris Forsberg [ Source: ESPN ]

Jae Crowder was injured Sunday when J.R. Smith delivered a backhand strike to his face while the pair jockeyed for a rebound. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Celtics announced Monday that forward Jae Crowder sprained his left ACL during Sunday's season-ending Game 4 loss to the Cavaliers.

Crowder's injury is not expected to require surgery.

The 24-year-old Crowder, acquired as part of the trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas in December, will be a restricted free agent this summer after the Celtics formally extend a $1.2 million qualifying offer. Boston will have the ability to match any offers that Crowder receives, and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has often repeated that Crowder is part of the Celtics' future plans.

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Greivis Vasquez was weary of Paul Pierce's trash talk at the beginning of the Toronto Raptors' first-round playoff series against the Washington Wizards, but after his team was swept Sunday, he now says a talker like Pierce is exactly what Toronto needs.

Pierce grabbed attention in a pre-series interview when he said the Raptors didn't have "it" and didn't worry him as an opponent. The Raptors did nothing to prove Pierce wrong, falling to the Wizards in four games.

"We need somebody to speak up and be like, this is how it is and challenge everybody else. Basically, we need a Paul Pierce that's going to talk that trash. We don't have that. We're all good guys that just don't want to [talk trash]," the Raptors' point guard said Monday.

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Ivan Johnson of Talk 'N Text barks at a referee. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Talk ‘N Text team manager Jimmy Alapag, the longtime captain of both the Tropang Texters and the Philippine national men’s basketball team when he was still playing, always knew when to stand up for his teammates.

Alapag, a well-respected figure in the league, is coming to the aid of import Ivan Johnson, who has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism from opposing coach Yeng Guiao, whose Rain or Shine team is headed to a Game Seven for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup against Alapag’s squad.

“There is no room in the game of basketball for making degrading, or racial comments towards any player/coach. It’s not good for the game, and more importantly, our youth who watch and support the PBA and dream one day to be a part of it,” Alapag wrote in a statement to on Monday.

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery Monday to repair a facial fracture he suffered in a Game 3 playoff win against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"We don't know a lot, but the procedure was good and we'll see how it goes from here," said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger, who indicated he will prepare as if Conley would be out for an extended period. "We've been trying to patch it together all year. We've had a lot of injuries, and one thing this team has done this season is it's stuck together."

Conley is recovering in Memphis after he returned from Portland after Saturday's 115-109 victory that gave the Grizzlies a 3-0 series lead entering Game 4 on Monday. The fractures near his left eye were caused by an inadvertent elbow he caught during a scramble for a loose ball with Blazers guard C.J. McCollum late in the third quarter.

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Brad Stevens' coaching job can't be ignored (April 28, 2015)
Jeff Goodman [ Source: ESPN ]

Despite being swept by Cleveland, Brad Stevens has earned the respect of LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

BOSTON -- One general manager ranked Brad Stevens third among NBA coaches, just behind five-time champion Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle. Another said the Boston Celtics' second-year coach isn't quite that high but has already cracked the top 10 -- and is climbing.

It's hard to argue against ranking Stevens in the top half of the league's coaches, despite the fact that the 38-year-old has coached fewer than 170 NBA games and fewer than 400 overall games in his career.

NBA executives will seldom praise another team's coach on the record. But behind the scenes, a large number of decision-makers around the league are raving about Stevens.

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‘Best shot’ in bid for World Cup (April 28, 2015)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

FIBA World Cup

MANILA, Philippines - SBP executive director Sonny Barrios and senior consultant Moying Martelino are scheduled to leave Manila for Geneva tomorrow to personally deliver the candidature files to FIBA in connection with the Philippine bid to host the World Cup in 2019.

The choice to host the next World Cup is down to either the Philippines or China. FIBA set a deadline of April 30 for the submission of the candidature files which will explain the vision and plan to organize the event. Then, the finalists will be required to send in the signed Host Nation Agreement and guarantees by May 31. Before the FIBA Central Board decides on which country to award the hosting rights in June, the Philippines and China will make a 20-minute audio-visual presentation as a last pitch.

Assisting the SBP in finalizing the candidature files is the giant entertainment/lifestyle/sports management company Octagon Group of Connecticut through its Sydney-based subsidiary Octagon Asia Pacific. Helios Partners vice president Barbara Poskanzer, who has worked in network TV projects involving five Olympics, was brought in from Florida to write the files. Poskanzer and Octagon Asia Pacific president Sean Nicholls were recently in town for five days to confer with SBP and DDB advertising executives on the files.

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Ivan Johnson vows to bounce back in Game 7 (April 28, 2015)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

 Talk n Text import Ivan Johnson tries to steal the ball from his Rain or Shine counterpart Wayne Chism. Philippine Star File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- In front of the whole team in their dugout following a mere six-point game Sunday, Talk n Text import Ivan Johnson vowed he’ll do everything he can to lead the team to victory versus Rain or Shine in the deciding Game Seven of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

“He promised that to us and hopefully he fulfills it,” said Jayson Castro of Johnson’s remarks obviously intended to lift the Tropang Texters’ morale and spirit after they blew their first crack at closing out the best-of-seven series.

“We’re banking on his words and of course we’ll be out there to do out part,” said Ranidel de Ocampo, a third of the powerful TNT triumvirate.

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Billups: Knicks shouldn't count on Melo to lead (April 28, 2015)
Ian Begley [ Source: ESPN ]

Chauncey Billups has shared the court with Carmelo Anthony during his time in New York and Denver. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

NEW YORK -- Phil Jackson has made it clear that he wants Carmelo Anthony to become more of a leader in the coming seasons, though he has never been specific about what kind of leadership he wants Anthony to display.

If he’s looking for Anthony to develop into a vocal leader, he may have misguided aspirations for his $124 million star.

Chauncey Billups, an ESPN analyst who played with Anthony for three seasons in Denver and New York, said recently that vocal leadership isn't a part of Carmelo’s personality.

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Cavs' Kevin Love dislocates shoulder on 'bush-league play' (April 28, 2015)
Dave McMenamin [ Source: ESPN ]

Kevin Love suffered a dislocated left shoulder during this fight for the ball with Boston's Kelly Olynyk during Game 4 on Sunday. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk said Sunday night that claims that he intentionally dislocated the shoulder of Kevin Love were "ridiculous" and that he had tried to contact the Cleveland Cavaliers forward after Game 4 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Olynyk, who was tied up with Love in the first quarter of the Cavs' 101-93 victory, was called for a loose-ball foul for clamping down on Love's left arm and pulling down. Love sprinted to the Cavs' locker room while holding his shoulder after the contact.

Sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst on Monday that Love is seeking a second opinion, which will delay any announcement by the Cavaliers concerning his injury. Another source told Windhorst that some Cavaliers players were told Sunday that Love would miss a minimum of two weeks.

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