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Texters gun for 2-0 upperhand vs Bolts (September 29, 2016)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

 TNT KaTropa’s Jayson Castro slashes through Meralco’s defense made up of Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge asduring Game One of their PBA Governors Cup semis series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. At right is KaTropa import Mychal Ammons. | Michael De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – In stepping up in the final half Tuesday night, the TNT KaTropa Texters showed how lethal a team they are.

The Texters, looking well invincible now, ride a great run as they try to make it two in a row versus the Meralco Bolts and zero in on a first PBA finals in four conferences.

 Best Player of the Conference chief contender Jayson Castro and his teammates are determined to get going, raring to go for the pivotal 2-0 lead in their side of the PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Thursday night.

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Fajardo shrugs off deep cut to help SMB avoid 0-2 hole (September 29, 2016)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

June Mar Fajardo speaks with the media following San Miguel Beer’s 95-92 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game 2 of their best-of-five semifinals series on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.net

Blood coming from a nasty cut above the right eye trickled down June Mar Fajardo’s face as he scored against a Ginebra double team underneath the basket.

Fajardo took an inadvertent elbow from San Miguel Beer import Elijah Millsap in the second quarter, but not even a gash and a bandage limiting his vision could slow down the most dominant Filipino player today.

“My vision was blurry so I kept wiping it and there’s blood coming out,” said Fajardo in Filipino after leading the Beermen to a 95-92 win over the Gin Kings Wednesday night to level their semifinals series at 1-1.

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Dwyane Wade says he's just trying to understand the offense and find the places he fits best. Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

CHICAGO -- As he adjusts to his new life with the Chicago Bulls after 13 seasons as a member of the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade wants his introduction before home games at the United Center to be short and sweet.

"From Chicago, Illinois," Wade said after Wednesday's practice. "Simple as that. I thought about the whole Marquette University thing. It would be cool to have two guys coming out from Marquette University, but I think coming back to the city, just hearing, 'From Chicago, Illinois,' will be good to me. I did it so many ways in Miami -- I think I've heard it every way. I did it from Robbins [Illinois] one year, I did it from Marquette, and I did it from Chicago one year, so I know what [the introductions] sound like."

Wade surprised the basketball world by leaving Miami and signing with the Bulls in July. He has repeatedly expressed how happy he is to be playing back in Chicago after growing up in the area. The future Hall of Famer says he has heard from plenty of fans throughout the city since making the decision regarding his basketball life.

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Tenorio says Ginebra confident it can beat San Miguel (September 29, 2016)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

Brgy. Ginebra. PBA IMAGES

The way LA Tenorio sounded was as if Barangay Ginebra just won on Wedesday.

The Gin Kings dropped Game 2 of the semifinals to the San Miguel Beermen, but that didn’t deter Tenorio’s confidence in his team.

“I think in this game, we were the ones who beat ourselves,” the Ginebra playmaker said. “The most important thing is we know how to beat this team and we have the confidence to beat this team.”

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Beermen outlast Kings to level series (September 29, 2016)
[ Source: ABS CBN News ]

 The semis series between San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra is now tied at 1-1. PBA Media Bureau photo

San Miguel Beer kept its composure in the final seconds to outlast Barangay Ginebra, 95-92, in Game 2 of their best-of-five PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday.

The series between the two teams is now tied, 1-1.

June Mar Fajardo led the way for San Miguel with a double-double of 18 points and 23 rebounds to go with two blocks.

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Spurs: Plan is to let Tim Duncan's role with the team evolve (September 29, 2016)
Michael C. Wright [ Source: ESPN ]

Tim Duncan is adjusting to life with the Spurs, now that he's retired. Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images

SAN ANTONIO -- Former San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan made an appearance at the team's Wednesday training camp workout, just two days after coach Gregg Popovich joked he would fine the future Hall of Famer $2,500 for each day he was absent.

But even with Duncan's surprise appearance, his role within the organization remains a work in progress.

"When I got done arguing with him about why he's been fined for not showing up the last few days, we got that out of the way first. Most people under contract are required to show up for their jobs," Popovich joked. "He said he didn't have a contract. But I told him I thought we had a verbal contract, and I thought that was just as good as written. We're having a tough time right now, the two of us, trying to get him straight. He's always been tough to manage; especially so now that he's retired."

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Black: Castro is PH’s best chance to make NBA roster (September 29, 2016)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Jayson Castro. PBA Media Bureau

JASON Castro is playing so well that Norman Black, who had a brief NBA career, believes that there’s no other Filipino at this time who can suit up in the NBA.

“There’s no question about it, if you’re looking for (a Filipino) to play in the NBA in today’s game, it’s only Jason Castro who can make it,” Black said Tuesday night, just over an hour after Castro wove his magic and led TNT KaTropa to an easy 113-95 win over Black’s Meralco Bolts in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.

“He has so many weapons and basketball has been kind of easy for him,” said Black, who suited up for three games for Detroit in 1980 before joining the PBA.

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Madanly hopes to return to Syria (September 29, 2016)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

D-League

MANILA, Philippines – TNT KaTropa’s Asian import Michael Madanly of Syria said yesterday his heart bleeds every day thinking of how his hometown of Aleppo has been transformed into a battlefield with terrorists and government forces engaged in a fierce conflict for supremacy.

Madanly fled his country in 2011 and now lives in Amsterdam where his parents also sought refuge after losing their worldly possessions to war. His brother, who was once held hostage by terrorists and for whom his family paid a ransom, has settled in Los Angeles. What brought stability to Madanly’s life was basketball. Wherever Madanly plays, his wife and their baby daughter – now seven months old – join him. Someday, he said they’ll return to Syria.

“I pray for my country, for the people to be safe,” he said. “I hope to go back but not before the war is resolved. I had a huge seven-year contract to play for the Al Jalaa Aleppo club so I never thought of trying out for teams in Europe or the US. Besides, I had no connections and no agent. I was happy in Syria until the war broke out and drove my family away. Basketball has brought me to China, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon but the PBA is my favorite league. I’ve played four years in China and I find the Filipino guards to be stronger, quicker and more talented. The PBA is more physical than any league I’ve played in and I enjoy it.”

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'Stubborn' LeBron appreciates Tyronn Lue's plan to rest him (September 29, 2016)
Dave McMenamin [ Source: ESPN ]

LeBron James played a career-low 35.6 minutes per game last season, upping that workload in the playoffs to 39.1 minutes per game. Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The challenge for Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue in his first full season at the helm isn't just how to direct LeBron James when he's on the court but also figuring out a way to keep the 14-year veteran off it.

As Cavs training camp opens this week, Lue said maintaining James, 31, for the long haul is a priority.

"I've looked at the schedule," Lue said Wednesday. "Just seeing what makes sense and what's smart when playing four-in-five type of nights. Can't run our guys into the ground. We have to be smart, understand we have to take care of our bodies and take care of our key guys. Make sure that when we get to the playoffs we're ready to go."

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Castro is an extraordinary player – Uichico (September 29, 2016)
Waylon Galvez [ Source: Manila Bulletin ]

Jayson Castro (Manila Bulletin)

Jayson Castro is human after all.

After dropping a personal conference-best 42 points in the quarterfinal round, TNT Katropa’s ace guard Jayson Castro was held to just 14 points in the team’s 113-95 win over sister team Meralco in Game 1 of their semis series in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta.

Blame the big drop to his scoring output to Meralco’s air-tight defense, nothing else.

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