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Gabe Freeman. Sports5 file/Paul Ryan Tan

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel faithful are hoping that Easter Sunday could bring resurgence for their struggling Gin Kings in the PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup.

The main source of their hope is the arrival of Gabe Freeman, the two-time Best Import winner who came in to replace former Los Angeles Lakers big man Josh Powell.

The Gin Kings had to scramble to bring in Freeman after Powell abruptly left the team to sign with the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

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Klay Thompson leads way as Warriors top Clippers in Game 1 (April 20, 2014)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, below, tries to pass the ball from the floor under pressure from Los Angeles Clippers guard Darren Collison during the second half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 109-105. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES -- Klay Thompson scored 22 points, David Lee added 20 and the Golden State Warriors got Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday in their playoff opener.

Stephen Curry added 14 points for the Warriors, who trailed by 11 points to start the game before rallying in the third when Griffin and Paul were on the bench together.

Paul led the Clippers with 28 points, and J.J. Redick added 22 points in 30 minutes. Griffin finished with 16 points, fouling out with 48 seconds left and the game tied at 105. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

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If the Spurs can't capture the title, Tony Parker says their regular-season success "doesn't mean anything." Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

SAN ANTONIO -- When the San Antonio Spurs open the playoffs Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks, it will be 10 months to the day from last season's devastating loss in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

They made the most of that time, finishing with the best record in the league this season, and their 62-20 mark secured home court throughout the postseason.

As much as the Finals collapse sparked the Spurs to the No. 1 overall seed, there remains just one thing that matters for San Antonio.

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Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot (April 20, 2014)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Coach Yeng Guiao reacts after referee’s call. PBA IMAGE by Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines — Rain or Shine, a finalist in the last two PBA conferences, and Barangay Ginebra, a side which its throng of diehards feel has underachieved in the same span, clash Sunday for the critical No. 6 spot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game time is 5:15 p.m. with the Gin Kings unveiling a returning import in the undersized Gabriel Freeman and the Elasto Painters trying to make do with Wayne Chism, whom coach Yeng Guiao describes as impressive in practice.

The Painters have drawn little offensive mileage from Chism, and if Rain or Shine plays to the run-and-gun style of the Kings which Freeman likes, then Guiao and his boys could be in for a lot of trouble Sunday night.

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LOS ANGELES -- Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson said he didn't regret his now-famous "bull in the china shop" quotes regarding Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin said on a San Francisco radio station earlier this week.

"At this point I don't really care. No regrets, it's fine," Thompson said Saturday before Game 1 of their first-round series at Staples Center. "When you step through those lines, nobody really cares what you said before. If you go out there and perform, that's all that really matters."

Thompson explained that he wasn't trying to start a conflict with Griffin, he just gave an honest answer to a question about why Griffin has a reputation for frustrating opponents.

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NBA salary cap projected to rise nearly $5 million (April 20, 2014)
Marc Stein [ Source: ESPN ]

A higher projected salary cap for next season could help other teams, like the Bulls and Rockets, get in on the Carmelo Anthony bidding war. Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has informed teams that it is projecting a rise in the salary cap of nearly $5 million for next season, which could aid clubs such as Chicago and Houston in their attempts to steal free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks, according to sources familiar with the forecasts.

Sources told that all 30 teams were informed this week via league memorandum that an increase in the cap from this season's $58.6 million to $63.2 million in 2014-15 -- thanks to increased revenues -- is now expected. A corresponding rise in the luxury-tax threshold from $71.7 million to $77 million is also projected, sources said.

It must be noted that these are non-binding forecasts that have been circulated roughly three months before the official cap ceiling and luxury-tax threshold for next season are announced in early July following a league-wide audit.

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Alaska faces San Mig Coffee (April 20, 2014)
[ Source: InterAksyon ]

Alaska's Gabby Espinas. Sports5/Paolo Papa

The defending champion Aces are hoping to continue their roll against the struggling Mixers.

Alaska has won four straight games while showcasing the stingy defense that was instrumental to the team’s title run last season.

In contrast, San Mig Coffee has struggled, losing four of its last five games after opening the tournament with a 3-0 record.

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Nets claim opener from Raptors as Deron Williams scores 24 (April 20, 2014)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Brooklyn Nets' Paul Pierce, center, drives to the net against Toronto Raptors Patrick Patterson, left, during the first half of Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, in Toronto on Saturday, April 19, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

TORONTO -- The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each had 24 points, Paul Pierce scored nine of his 15 points in the final quarter and the Nets beat the Raptors 94-87 Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round series.

Playing in his 137th career postseason game, Pierce connected on four of his five shot attempts in the fourth as the Nets kept the Raptors at bay.

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Memphis Grizzlies' Nick Calathes mounting defense, calls suspension unfair (April 20, 2014)
Brian Windhorst and J.A. Adande [ Source: ESPN ]


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes is mounting a defense against a 20-game suspension handed down Friday for violation of the NBA's drug policy, citing it as unfair. The league, however, plans to stand by its ruling under the collective bargaining agreement.

Calathes was suspended less than 24 hours before the Grizzlies started their playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder for use of the drug Tamoxifen, which is one of the 140 substances banned by the NBA's performance-enhancing drug policy. Tamoxifen is not directly a PED but a masking agent for other substances, including synthetic testosterone.

The National Basketball Players Association has the option of asking for an expedited grievance to be heard within 10 days. It remains unlikely that the process will play out before the end of the playoffs. Unlike in Major League Baseball, appealed suspensions do not result in a stay.

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‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’ (April 20, 2014)
Beth Celis [ Source: Inquirer ]


PBA Media Bureau head Willie Marcial said his office has been receiving calls and e-mails trying to confirm the veracity of a report that came out recently announcing that “People’s Champ” Manny Pacquiao will suit up for Columbia Autocar Corporation (Kia), one of the three new teams accepted by the league for the incoming season.

The PBA has no answer for the curious.

“We cannot make a confirmation or issue a denial at this point since none of the two parties involved has informed us of this matter,” said Marcial.

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