Japeth Aguilar. FIBA photo

The Philippine national men’s basketball team took another blow as high-flying forward Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra is unlikely to have another tour of duty following an injured pinky finger.

Aguilar will need at least 12 weeks to recover from a surgery to repair his dislocated finger, according to his agent Marvin Espiritu who posted the injury on Instagram.

Aguilar has been a staple with the national team since the beginning of the Gilas Pilipinas program in 2010. He was a member of the squad that reached the FIBA World Cup last year.

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Basketball

Manila North—the third Philippine team in the tournament offering two World Tour berths—also faces a tough assignment on opening day after getting grouped with a former world champion.

“Last year was already very hard, but we’re trying to stay positive,” said Terrence Romeo, who’s back to spearhead Manila West’s title bid together with KG Canaleta, Rey Guevarra and Aldrech Ramos.

Manila West gets its campaign going in Pool D tomorrow versus Team Auckland of New Zealand and Manila South.

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Charlotte Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo (0) dunks the ball during the second half against the Miami Heat in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Heat defeated the Bobcats 109-98. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY...

Congolese center Bismack Biyombo did not grow up playing on gleaming hardwood floors in Africa but hopes today's youth will get that chance after the National Basketball Association's first exhibition on the continent.

The former first-round draft pick, who joined the Toronto Raptors earlier this month, is among the glittering array of top NBA talent featured in Saturday's game in South Africa, the U.S.-based league's latest push to reach emerging markets.

But for Biyombo, rather than the game simply helping to draw new fans to basketball, he is hopeful it will provide a platform to give children a chance to learn the sport at a younger age.

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 Gilas holdover Gabe Norwood will re-join the national pool on Thursday night. FIBA

MANILA, Philippines -- Fresh from his vacation trip in the United States, Rain or Shine forward Gabe Norwood will immediately join the Gilas Pilipinas practice on Thursday night.

Norwood, who arrived in the country just last Wednesday, is the only player that Rain or Shine will lend to the national pool.

"Yes, confirmed na si Gabe (Norwood) lang ang napagkasunduan ng management na ipapahiram," Atty. Mamerto Mondragon, Rain or Shine's board governor, told Philstar.com on Thursday.

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Basketball

Here’s a look at how Grant can fit into the Knicks’ offense, by the numbers:

PICK-AND-ROLL: Grant showed at Notre Dame that he can create scoring opportunities in the pick-and-roll. He ranked in the 72nd percentile nationally in points per play as the pick-and-roll ball handler last year, per Synergy Sports. When the defense committed to Grant on the pick-and-roll, he was even more effective. The Fighting Irish scored an average of 1.1 points per play in those situations, which ranked in the 90th percentile in Division I.

This is good news for the Knicks, who struggled in the pick-and-roll for much of the season last year. Their ball handlers in the pick-and-roll ranked second-to-last in points per play. Grant should be able to help improve that ranking.

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Terrence Romeo (2nd from left) and the amazing mall atmosphere are only two reasons to watch the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters live on YouTube on 1-2 August. FIBA

MANILA (2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour starts again on 1-2 August in Manila, Philippines and we look at ten reasons to follow the Manila Masters on FIBA 3x3's official YouTube channel.

1. LIVESTREAM: All games in HD with on the commentaries Aaron Atayde, the voice of basketball in the Philippines

2. MORE VIDEOS: Dunk highlights, Top Plays, Interviews, Mixtapes. Will there be enough pop corn?

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Jayson Castro. FIBA photo

The Philippine national men’s basketball team finally began its preparations for the FIBA Asia Championship, with a number of veterans and new faces appearing in a workout session on Wednesday night at the Meralco Gym.

Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo of Talk ‘N Text and Gary David of Meralco attended the first practice conducted by Tab Baldwin as national team coach.

Also present in the workout were Matt Ganuelas-Rosser of Talk ‘N Text, Dondon Hontiveros and Sonny Thoss of Alaska, JC Intal of Barako Bull, Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, Asi Taulava of NLEX and PBA draft hopeful Troy Rosario.

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