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Alaska vs. ain or Shine.   PBA Media Bureau

After surviving a do-or-die Game 5 on Wednesday, the Alaska Aces set up an interesting Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals matchup with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

For 16 years, every PBA title series has featured a team owned by either the San Miguel Corporation or the MVP Group – two groups that each have three teams in the league right now.

This title series marks the first time since the 2000 All-Filipino finals that two independently-owned teams will face off for the championship. Back then, it was Alaska and Purefoods, which at the time was still owned by the Ayala Corporation, that battled with the Aces winning the series, 4-1.

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Nike first signed Michael Jordan to an endorsement deal more than 30 years ago, but the debate over who deserves credit for the signing has taken on a life of its own.

Now, Jordan's agent during his playing days is weighing in.

"Michael Jordan is the one who most deserves credit for signing with Nike," said David Falk, who represented Jordan in contract and marketing negotiations.

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- LaMarcus Aldridge has scored 79 points on 33-of-44 shooting in the first two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But despite 41 in Game 2 where he made 15 of his 21 shots, the Thunder escaped with a 98-97 win to even the series against the San Antonio Spurs 1-1.

"One man can't beat you," Thunder guard Dion Waiters said Wednesday. "So we're fine with that. If they want to continue to get out of their offense and throw the ball down there to him, we're fine with that. One guy can't beat us, no matter how much he scores."

"We've just got to make adjustments, try to make it tough on him," Waiters said. "He's a great player in this league, an All-Star. He's going to make shots. He's playing tremendous right now. But we're fine with one guy just beating us. We're fine with that. At the end of the day, Serge [Ibaka] and Steven [Adams] got to continue to do what they've been doing, but guys are going to make shots in the NBA and as long as they're not running the offense and dropping it down to them, we're living with that."

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Yeng Guaio. PBA Media Bureau

In each of the last five PBA seasons, Rain or Shine has made it in the finals of least one conference. That streak continues in the current Oppo Commissioner’s Cup after the Elasto Painters dispatched San Miguel Beer in the semifinals a few days ago.

The five conference finals for Rain or Shine, however, had one thing in common different from the sixth: The Painters had always been the underdogs.

This time, when the Painters go up either against Alaska or Meralco, Rain or Shine will be the favorite, prompting its coach Yeng Guiao to say that this is “unchartered territory” for them.

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Chris Bosh officially will be out for the remainder of the playoffs, Bosh and the Miami Heat announced in a joint statement Wednesday.

"The Miami Heat and Chris Bosh announce that Chris will not be playing in the remainder of the 2016 NBA Playoffs," the statement read. "The Heat, Chris, the doctors and medical team have been working together throughout this process and will continue to do so to return Chris to playing basketball as soon as possible."

The announcement eases a degree of tension that was building between Bosh and the team over his status. Bosh and the Heat avoided acrimony, and he remained active with the team and traveled to road games on owner Micky Arison's plane, but he appeared to be pushing for a resolution in recent days.

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WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge acknowledged the need for patience and a little bit of luck during the rebuilding process, but as the Celtics embark on what could be a franchise-altering offseason, Ainge is clearly hopeful that long-awaited fireworks will fill the Boston sky this summer.

"We look forward to every offseason. This offseason is bigger," Ainge said Wednesday during an end-of-season news conference at the team's training facility. "My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune. We need the pingpong balls to bounce our way [at the draft lottery on May 17] to give us the best opportunity. Whether we use that pick or whether we trade that pick, and in free agency, we have opportunities. And that’s all we have.

"We have no guarantees of great things happening. We just have a lot of hope. And so we have a lot of work ahead of us, and we have to have plan A through Z. Usually, it’s more A through G, but we have A through Z this year just to have an opportunity to upgrade our team."

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Calvin Abueva. PBA Media Bureau

Three times in these past two seasons, Calvin Abueva saw his Alaska team ended up as runner-up to the San Miguel Beermen.

While ‘The Beast’ was hoping to get some redemption in another clash with San Miguel, he’s perfectly fine trying to finally complete their title chase against a different team.

“Marami akong nababasa na wala yung San Miguel, pero hindi naman all the time sila lang ang dapat naming katapat. Mas maganda kung San Miguel for the fourth time, pero sorry, kami yung umakyat. Sayang rin kasi may import silang magaling,” Abueva said after the Aces advanced from the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.

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Andy Jao will serve as the commissioner of the NCAA Season 92 men’s basketball tournament opening on June 25.

Jao was appointed by host San Beda to succeed Bai Cristobal, who served for two terms.

NCAA Management Committee chair Jose Mari Lacson and San Beda rector Fr. Aloysius Maranan, OSB, confirmed Jao’s appointment on Wednesday.

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Potential Cavs-Heat matchup already on LeBron James' mind (May 05, 2016)
Dave McMenamin [ Source: ESPN ]


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- In a moment of candor, LeBron James strayed from the one-game-at-a-time sports-world cliché and conceded that he has thought about a potential Eastern Conference finals showdown between the Cleveland Cavaliers and his former team, the Miami Heat.
LeBron James (23) acknowledged that he's thought about potentially playing his former team, the Heat, in the Eastern Conference finals. Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images

The Cavs lead the Atlanta Hawks 1-0 in their East semifinals series, and Miami is up 1-0 on the Toronto Raptors. Game 2 between the Cavs and Hawks is Wednesday night.

"Naturally, of course," James said after Cavs shootaround Wednesday morning, when asked about the chance to play the Heat. "That's since I've came back. It'd be great to play against those guys in the postseason.

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Jimmy Alapag. PBA Media Bureau

Meralco veteran Jimmy Alapag has made his name on close, endgame situations but in his team’s no-tomorrow Game 5 encounter with Alaska, the ‘Mighty Mouse’ just could not deliver for his team.

Not when the former PBA MVP was sidelined with a heavily-wrapped injured hand, forced to miss out on the action right when his team needed it most.

He admitted that, no matter how painful the injury was, it was sitting out that bothered him more.

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