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San Miguel hoping for ‘beer-acle’ encore (April 30, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

San Miguel Beermen. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Will there be another “beer-acle” run?

San Miguel likes to think so. The Beermen also found themselves back in a familiar place where their historic run last conference started.

Back at Philsports Arena in Pasig, where they won the first of four straight games in the Philippine Cup Finals, the Beermen fanned their finals hopes after extending their best-of-five semifinals series against Rain or Shine with a gritty 104-98 victory on Thursday.

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Cruz says clash with Santos ‘part of the game’ (April 30, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Jericho Cruz and Arwind Santos. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Jericho Cruz knew he had to do all he could to help Rain or Shine complete the semifinals sweep of San Miguel.

And whether he wanted it or not, he had to juke it out against Arwind Santos on Thursday.

The two traded barbs over the course of game, and were even whistled with a double-technical for taunting as they tried one-up one another in hopes of helping their respective teams to the victory.

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What the Warriors are without Steph Curry (April 30, 2016)
Ethan Sherwood Strauss [ Source: ESPN ]

Klay Thompson, whose talent has often been overshadowed by Stephen Curry's dominance, gets to take the spotlight while the Warriors try to win without Curry. Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

OAKLAND, Calif. -- In sports, where not much is literal, the Warriors seek to compensate for a lack of something metaphorically murderous. Right now, Stephen Curry has a particular set of skills, momentarily interrupted by a particular set of suits.

"We’re going to show them what 'strength in numbers' really means through the whole playoffs until the killer comes back,” Warriors big man and part-time philosopher Marreese Speights says of the task at hand.

The official timetable on recovery from Curry’s MCL strain is two weeks, meaning this particular killer currently walks as languidly as Anton Chigurh. Even if Golden State can beat, say, the Portland Trail Blazers without Curry’s services, it’s a distressing development, to be sure. Athletes can find inspiration in misfortune, though. Right now, the Warriors fight for Steph Curry while seeking to prove themselves as something more than just Steph Curry.

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Marcio Lassiter exploded for a conference-high 30 points in Game 3. PBA Media Bureau

San Miguel may have played without an import on Thursday but showed that their locals had more than enough firepower as they won, 104-98, in Game 3 of their Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup semis series against Rain or Shine.

Marcio Lassiter, in particular, looked like a different player, breaking out of a shooting slump with 30 points, hitting five three-pointers and going 11-for-16 (68-percent) from the field.

“It came at a perfect time,” Lassiter told sportswriters after the game. “I have confidence in my shots. In Game 1 and in Game 2, I took the shots, but they were not falling. Sometimes it’s really not your night. But I didn’t change anything. I just shot the ball with confidence.”

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Andre Drummond missed 378 free throws during the regular season while shooting a career-low 35.5 percent from the line. Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond is willing to consider a throwback free throw style to improve a glaring hole in his game, according to coach Stan Van Gundy.

"As far as shooting underhand or anything else, it's fair to say my discussion with Andre yesterday and the discussions [general manager] Jeff [Bower] and I have had and staff -- everything is on the table," Van Gundy said Thursday, according to The Detroit News.

Drummond shot 35.5 percent from the free throw line this season, a career-worst average, while going to the line a career-high 7.2 times per game. It was the worst free throw shooting season in NBA history.

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 Game 3 action between SMB and Rain or Shine. PBA Media Bureau photo

San Miguel coach Leo Austria has admitted that he took a huge gamble by playing without Tyler Wilkerson and forcing the Beermen to go all-Filipino against Rain or Shine in Game 3 of their PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals.

He took the risk while the Beermen had their backs to the wall with a 0-2 deficit in their best-of-five series.

Fortunately, the gamble paid off with San Miguel taking a 104-98 verdict over Rain or Shine. The Beermen are now just a game behind, 1-2.

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International Basketball

The Philippine national under-18 team, also known as Batang Gilas Pilipinas, manhandled Thailand by 36 points to snare the 2016 SEABA Under-18 title late Thursday in Medan, Indonesia.

Joshua Sinclair and Gian Mamuyac led the Filipinos to an 86-49 win over the Thais to sweep all their six games in the tournament.

Sinclair scored 15 points, while Mamuyac added 14 points. John Bahio provided back up with his 12 points and 13 rebounds.

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SMB expects Reid in town before Game 4 vs RoS (April 30, 2016)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

D-League

MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Beer expects AZ Reid to be in town in time for Game Four of the team’s Commissioner’s Cup Final Four showdown with Rain or Shine at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Taking over from Tyler Wilkerson, Reid will be reunited with the Beermen whom he helped to a successful title run in the 2015 Governors Cup.

In that tourney, Reid and the Beermen trampled the Elasto Painters, three-games-to-one, in the semis before conquering the Alaska Milk Aces in the finale.

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Hawks forward Paul Millsap led a stellar defensive effort against the Celtics but will face a tougher assignment in LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON –- Not long after the Atlanta Hawks banished their green-and-white demons on the parquet floor by suffocating Isaiah Thomas and sending the Celtics' biggest fan, Bill Russell, and 18,000 others home to count all of their draft picks, the Hawks turned their focus toward trying to vanquish another tormentor.

Atlanta did something on Thursday night that it had never done in franchise history –- win a playoff series clincher in Boston with a much-deserved 104-92 Game 6 victory that really wasn’t that close. And the Hawks beat Boston for only the second time in 12 playoff encounters and for the first time since 1958.

The Hawks’ reward now is a second-round date with LeBron James, the man who didn’t just sweep them in the Eastern Conference finals last year but stomped all over them while averaging 30.3 points, 11 rebounds and 9.3 assists in those four games.

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Gavina takes over deputy post at Mahindra as Victolero resigns (April 30, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Chito Victolero. Inquirer.net photo

Chris Gavina will take over the post left by deputy Chito Victolero and will oversee the development of Mahindra in preparation for the third conference.

Enforcers team manager Eric Pineda confirmed the move after Victolero tendered his resignation this week.

“Chris Gavina has been appointed as the first assistant coach to replace Chito,” Pineda said in a text message.

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