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Andre Emmett of Merlaco squeezes past Arizona Reid of San Miguel Beer. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

The Meralco Bolts aim to complete a big upset of the San Miguel Beermen in their knockout match for the last PBA Governors’ Cup ticket on Monday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Meralco and San Miguel meet at 7 p.m. live on TV5.

Both teams are trying to clinch the fourth and remaining spot in the semifinals, with the winner facing Rain or Shine in the next round. Alaska and Star will figure in their own best-of-five series in the other side of the bracket.

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Gold all that matters for Gilas five, says Baldwin (June 29, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

FIBA Asia Championships

“Fairly irrelevant.”

That’s how new Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin describes the draw the Filipinos found themselves in when they gun for a berth in the Olympics in the Fiba Asia Championship slated in China in late September.

“I don’t really look at it as easy or hard. Our goal is to really win the gold,” said Baldwin, a day after learning that the Philippines will be in Group B together with Palestine, Kuwait and the East Asia champion.

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Red Lions find new go-to guy (June 29, 2015)
Cedelf P. Tupas [ Source: Inquirer ]

San Beda forward Art dela Cruz TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.net

Often overshadowed by his more illustrious teammates, veteran San Beda forward Art dela Cruz found the perfect time to deliver one of his finest games in the NCAA Saturday.

With Ola Adeogun and Baser Amer sidelined by injuries, Dela Cruz took the cudgels for the defending champion Red Lions who came away with a 102-89 win over the Mapua Cardinals to kickstart their bid for a sixth straight championship in Season 91.

Dela Cruz dished out MVP-like numbers, finishing with 27 points, 17 rebounds and six assists at Mall of Asia Arena in a performance that drew praise from the squad’s new coach Jamike Jarin.

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Hotshots peaking at right time, starting with Simon (June 29, 2015)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Peter June Simon. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

If there’s one thing going the way of Star, it’s that coach Tim Cone can say that his players are peaking at the right time.

That has been on display as the Hotshots defied a twice-to-beat disadvantage and outlasted GlobalPort in the quarterfinals of the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup to enter the semifinals on Sunday.

And one of those key guys in Cone’s arsenal was Peter June Simon, who went off in the second quarter to pour in all but two of his 14 points to help Star build an early lead.

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Heat decline Michael Beasley's option (June 29, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

MIAMI -- Michael Beasley's third stint with the Miami Heat has ended.

The Heat have declined their $1.3 million option to keep Beasley for next season, and the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft will officially become a free agent on Wednesday.

Beasley averaged 8.8 points in 24 games with Miami last season after returning from China. He was also with the Heat from 2008 through 2010 and was part of the 2013-14 team that advanced to the NBA Finals.

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Clarkson caught in NBA trade rumors (June 29, 2015)
Percy D. Della [ Source: Inquirer ]

NBA

The suspense of the NBA Draft on Thursday last week is over, but the intrigue that surrounded it remains.

Caught in the machinations of competing California franchises is Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kentucky power forward Karl-Anthony Towns as the first overall choice, the Lakers used the second overall pick on point guard-shooting guard D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State.

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Star Shotshots head coach Tim Cone. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Neither Tim Cone nor the Star Hotshots have ever won a playoff series where they faced a twice-to-win disadvantage.

On Sunday, they were able to accomplish that together, beating a higher-seeded GlobalPort team for the second straight time en route to clinching a berth in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals opposite the Alaska Aces.

Cone was quick to deflect the credit to his players, though, praising them for rising up to the challenge in a 101-94 win.

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USA U19 team beats Croatia in FIBA World Championships (June 29, 2015)
Scott Phillips [ Source: NBCSports ]

International Basketball

The USA U19 team is off to a 2-0 start at the FIBA World Championships in Greece with a 103-81 win over Croatia in a pool play game on Sunday. Class of 2016 wing Jayson Tatum shot the ball well in the win, going 10-for-15 to finish with 22 points while fellow high school rising senior Josh Jackson registered another double-double performance with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Arizona recruit Allonzo Trier added 17 points for the Americans while Class of 2016 forward Harry Giles also chipped in 14 points.

Pool play continues for Team USA on Tuesday as the Americans will face Egypt in its final pool play game. Heavy favorites to advance out of their group, the Round of 16 at the U19 World Championships will be played on Wednesday.

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Globalport import Omar Krayem. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Filipino basketball fans could see a lot more of Globalport’s Asian import Omar Krayem in the months to come even though the twice-to-beat Batang Pier were sent to an early exit by Star on Sunday night in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.

The Palestinian guard said there’s a “very high” possibility that he will suit up for his country’s National team when it competes in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in China this September.

“It’s a very high possibility,” Krayem told reporters after tallying nine points, five rebounds and four assists in the loss.

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Omar Krayem of Globalport Batang Pier. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

GlobalPort’s Asian import Omar Krayem has created a lot of good memories playing in the PBA, with the Batang Pier making a solid run at a first Final Four appearance in franchise history.

Though they fell short of that goal, ending Krayem’s first stint as an import in the PBA, it might not be long before Filipino fans get to see the Palestinian guard take the floor again – this time with different stakes.

Krayem could be part of the Palestinian national men’s basketball team, which is set to see action in the FIBA Asia Championship for the very first time. The team qualified for the continental tournament, with an Olympic berth as well as national pride at stake, after it finished third behind Lebanon and Jordan in the WABA tournament.

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