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James Yap of Purefoods Star. PBA Images/Nuki Sabio

With defensive ace Marc Pingris out and center Ian Sangalang suffering an injury scare, the Purefoods Star Hotshots could be in for an early test of character, superstar James Yap said on Wednesday.

Yap looked to be in top form, scoring 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field, but his Grand Slam champion team was unable to keep their game against Alaska competitive with two of their key frontliners on the sidelines.

“Dito ma-te-test young character ng team. Paano kami maglalaro na wala si Ping and wala si Ian,” Yap said after the game.

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NBA owners fail to pass draft lottery reform (October 23, 2014)
[ Source: ESPN ]

The NBA failed to pass reform on the draft lottery process that would have discouraged teams from tanking to increase the odds of landing a better draft position. Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images

An effort to reform the NBA's draft lottery process failed to get enough votes to pass at the league's board of governors meeting Wednesday.

While the final vote was 17-13 in favor of the reform, that was short of the required 23 votes needed to push the change through.

Sources had said the reform had been expected to pass ahead of Wednesday's vote.

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Marc Pingris. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

For a team that thrives on defense, the Purefoods Star Hotshots looked decidedly average on that end against Alaska as they played without their defensive ace Marc Pingris.

Pingris is taking a short break after a grueling international campaign with the Philippine national men’s basketball team in the offseason and missed the team’s season opener against the Aces.

Alaska head coach Alex Compton said that the absence of the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year was noticeable and his Aces took full advantage.

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The Spurs are the favorite to win a second straight title, according to the NBA's general managers. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are an overwhelming choice to repeat as NBA champion while LeBron James is the favorite to win the MVP award, according to NBA.com's 2014-15 survey of league general managers.

The general managers gave their answers to 56 questions and were not permitted to vote for their own players or team.

In the survey, the Spurs were chosen to repeat as NBA champion with 46.2 percent of the votes, finishing far ahead of the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers (15.4). The Miami Heat were picked in 2013 by NBA GMs to win the title (75.9 percent).

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 Calvin Abueva led the charge for Alaska. KC Cruz

 Before the game, the Alaska Aces watched the Purefoods Star Hotshots receive their championship rings.

After tipoff, Alaska proceeded to lay the smackdown on the winners of last season's Grand Slam, fashioning out a dominant 93-73 victory on Wednesday in the 2015 Philippine Cup on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

After a hot 7-0 start from Purefoods behind top gun James Yap, Alaska managed to strike back, battling the Hotshots to a 16-all deadlock after the first period.

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Phil Jackson's point of view on New York Knicks (October 23, 2014)
Charley Rosen [ Source: ESPN ]

After 20 seasons as an NBA head coach, Phil Jackson begins his first as team president for the Knicks. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

At West Point, where the New York Knicks began training camp for the first time this year, the vast grounds are covered with reminders of military idols.

There's a bronze statue of George Washington astride a horse. George Patton getting ready to sight the enemy through a huge pair of cast iron binoculars. Dwight Eisenhower standing with his hands on his hips and staring fearlessly into the infinite future.

And, high atop a hill overlooking the Hudson River to the west and the fabled West Point Plain to the east, stands the magnificent Thayer Hotel. Inside the hotel, a hoops idol sits at a large round table in a private corner of the elegant General Douglas MacArthur Restaurant.

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Cliff Hodge of Meralco. Sports5 file/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Meralco may not have a legitimate center but with a scrappy frontline trio of forwards in Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan and Sean Anthony holding the fort down low, the Bolts believe they can contend against the bigger teams in the PBA.

“It’s not about size for us. For most of us, we switched in multiple positions and we all play hard,” Hodge told InterAksyon.com after their win over Barako Bull on Wednesday.

Hodge proved he could hold his own on the boards, grabbing 16 rebounds on top of 10 points while Hugnatan starred with 28 points – many of those in the paint – and seven rebounds.

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ABL

Saigon Heat made history and clinched their 2014 AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League playoff berth after a thrilling 75-73 win in overtime over the Indonesia Warriors at BritAma Arena, Jakarta, on Wednesday night.

Saigon had to escape a late big rally from the Warriors to secure their first ever trip to the ABL Playoffs. The Heat improved to  a 9-10 record.

“I knew they’d come back. They are a proud team and all the players have played in big games before. We missed a lot of free throws as well down the stretch. But we dug in and we did it with our defense,” said Heat’s head coach Anthony Gabelotto after their big win. “I’m very proud of our team and we did it for Coach Jason Rabedeaux.”

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 Koy Banal took over the reins of Barako Bull four days before the season. KC Cruz

First-time head coach Koy Banal admitted that he was anxious in his first game at the helm of Barako Bull, taking the blame for his team's double overtime loss to Meralco on Wednesday.

A longtime assistant in the pro league, Banal said the jitters were natural especially because he only took over the team four days ago.

"Ano magagawa mo sa four days? Iba 'yung nakapag-adjust ka, one month to prepare, one month before the season starts. Meron kang time na mag-adjust e," Banal said.

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Anthony Semerad named NCAA Finals MVP (October 23, 2014)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

Anthony Semerad. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — San Beda forward Anthony Semerad saved his best for last.

Playing in his final game for the Red Lions on Wednesday, Semerad scored 30 points built on four 3-pointers as San Beda clinched its fifth straight NCAA championship with an 89-70 win over Arellano to sweep their best-of-three series at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 6-foot-5 big man also grabbed six rebounds and earned the Finals MVP award.

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