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Arinze Onuaku had 22 rebounds for Meralco. PBA Media Bureau

The Meralco Bolts started slow but finished strong to dispatch the Star Hotshots, 90-86, in the OPPO PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Arinze Onuaku, despite arriving in Manila just 24 hours before the game, posted monster numbers of 25 points and 22 rebounds to carry the Bolts.

Chris Newsome made 16 points while Cliff Hodge and Baser Amer with 12 and 10, respectively, to help their team notch a win in their campaign opener.

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Jayson Castro has his eye on the basket. PBA Media Bureau

Tropang TNT star guard Jayson Castro saved his best for last, drilling in a clutch three-pointer in the last 53 seconds that helped preserve the team’s win over Blackwater in the opening game of the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Castro erupted for 19 points in the first 24 minutes of action but went scoreless for most of the second half before stepping up to take the big shot in the final minute.

Though Castro – the reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference and FIBA’s Best Point Guard in Asia – reminded everyone why he was TNT’s go-to guy and one of the best crunch time performers in the league, he also credited his teammates, who handled business to keep him fresh for the crucial endgame.

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ABL

The Singapore Slingers got back to their winning ways after they defeated the Mono Vampire Basketball Club, 97-69, at the Sripatum University Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

The Slingers were coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of the defending champions Hi-Tech Bangkok City on their home floor last February 5.

“After the loss to Hi-Tech at home, we kept on emphasizing that we needed to bounce back,” Slingers head coach Neo Beng Siang said after the game. “They really stepped up.”

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Ranidel de Ocampo played in his first game in 3 months. PBA Media Bureau

Tropang TNT veteran forward Ranidel De Ocampo picked up right where he left off last conference, making an impact in his first game back since suffering a back injury.

Despite missing nearly the entire Philippine Cup, he showed little sign of rust, finishing with 20 points in 28 minute of play.

“Nahirapan pa rin ako kasi ang tagal kong hindi nakalaro. Siguro dahil na rin sa sobrang excited maglaro,” De Ocampo told sportswriters.

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Erram taken to hospital after hard fall (February 11, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

John Paul Erram after a hard fall. Inquirer.net

Blackwater is keeping its hopes up that center JP Erram sustained no serious injury after a hard landing early in the Elite’s conference-opening game against TNT on Wednesday.

With Blackwater leading 17-11 at the 5:59 mark of the first quarter, Erram went up and blocked Ranidel de Ocampo’s lay-up attempt. However, his landing went awry as he got undercut by Blackwater import MJ Rhett and fell hard on his back.

The former Ateneo Blue Eagle stayed on the floor for a while as medics tended to him. He no longer returned to the game.

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NBA

After missing the past seven games to help alleviate pain from right knee tendinitis, New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans will undergo surgery that is likely to cause him to miss the rest of the season, according to multiple reports.

Evans, a seven-year veteran, is scheduled to meet with specialists this week to finalize the details of his surgery, Yahoo! Sports' The Vertical reported.

The surgery will be Evans's third on his right knee since last May, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

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Ranidel de Ocampo finished with 20 points. InterAksyon.com/Ver Marquez

The Talk ‘M Text Tropang Texters shrugged off the absence of their import and also a career-game from Carlo Lastimosa as they opened their title retention bid with a 108-102 victory over the Blackwater Elite on the opening day of the OPPO PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Talk ‘N Text played without Ivan Johnson who was suspended one game for punching Elite players in a tuneup game.

But that hardly mattered as the Tropang Texters were led by Jayson Castro, who finished with 22 points including a dagger triple late in the game, and Ranidel De Ocampo, who scored 20 points and four rebounds in his return from a back injury that sidelined him most of last conference.

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Phoenix Petroleum sets modest PBA target (February 11, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Phoenix Fuel Masters logo.

Phoenix Petroleum, the newest kid on the Philippine Basketball Association block, has set a modest goal in the league: Make the quarterfinals.

The Fuel Masters debut in the Commissioner’s Cup against NLEX on Feb. 17.

Phoenix bought the Barako Bull franchise near the end of the Philippine Cup and retained the coaching staff led by Koy Banal and the core of an Energy team that performed well in the season-opening conference.

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NBA

NEW YORK -- Kurt Rambis did all he could to stop the New York Knicks' spiral on Tuesday night. But a new voice on the sideline ultimately yielded a familiar result.

New York fell behind by double digits early and couldn't complete a late comeback, falling short against Washington in a 111-108 loss. It was the first loss for Rambis in his new role as interim head coach and the sixth straight defeat for the Knicks.

New York (23-32) has dropped 10 of 11 games and has less than a 0.7 chance of making the postseason, according to the ESPN playoff odds tracker.

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Newcomer Phoenix ‘committed’ to doing best for team, PBA, fans (February 11, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Phoenix Fuel Masters during the press launch Wednesday. Photo by Randolph Leongson

Phoenix’s PBA dream has finally come true.

Entering Asia’s oldest basketball league starting this 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Phoenix president and CEO Dennis Uy sees the jump as a milestone for the Davao-based fuel company.

“It has always been a dream to me to be a part of this league,” he said during the team’s official press launch on Wednesday at Novotel in Cubao.

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