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Desire to make semis fuels Castro’s 42-point outburst (September 25, 2016)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

TNT KaTropa’s Jayson Castro. PBA IMAGES

Jayson Castro knew he had to show up for TNT to seal its return in the semifinals after missing it the last three conferences.

Castro didn’t leave anything to chance with another spellbinding performance in the quarterfinals against Phoenix Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Castro was at his best as he came just a couple points shy from matching his career-high with 42 points to lead the KaTropa.

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Anthony Davis feels 'amazing' after return to Pelicans practice (September 25, 2016)
Justin Verrier [ Source: ESPN ]

Anthony Davis played in 61 games last year and has yet to appear in 70 games in a season. Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

METAIRIE, La. -- Anthony Davis said he feels "amazing" after participating in virtually every part of the morning session of the New Orleans Pelicans' first two-a-day practice. Davis, who had an ultrasonic debridement of his left knee last spring, said he only sat out some conditioning toward the end but found another way to achieve the same objective.

“It felt amazing to be back on the floor with these guys,” he said. “It’s been a while. I think we had a great first day. I’ve got to learn how to slow down a little bit; we’re playing really fast right now. But I like where we’re at right now.”

Davis, 23, said at Friday’s media day that he was “all-in” for practice and training camp, but the Pelicans have taken the long view with his recovery. He will have his workload monitored and might play limited minutes in preseason games, but he is expected to be ready for the team’s regular-season opener Oct. 26 against the Denver Nuggets.

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 "The Blur" torches Phoenix with 42 points. Photo courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Jayson Castro exploded on Phoenix to tow TNT KaTropa to the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Saturday night.

Castro fired 42 points and propelled the Texters’ high-scoring exchange with the Fuel Masters that ended in TNT’s favor, 136-124.

The Texters, who will be appearing in the final four for the first time since their 2015 Commissioner’s Cup title win, will battle sister team Meralco Bolts in a best-of-five duel in the semis.

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Gilas pool of 24 looms as option (September 25, 2016)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

International Basketball

MANILA, Philippines – SBP president Al Panlilio said yesterday a proposal to name a Gilas pool of 24 players to include a candidate from each PBA team is under review and if it is approved, a split draft will likely take place when the pro league conducts the annual rookie selection on Oct. 30.

Panlilio met with the PBA ad hoc committee of PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa, former PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio of TNT KaTropa, PBA governor Alfrancis Chua of Barangay Ginebra and PBA governor Atty. Mamerto Mondragon of Rain Or Shine last Thursday to discuss a joint plan of action involving the SBP and PBA with regard to forming the national team in anticipation of the new FIBA competition format to kick in next year.

Panlilio said nothing is final at the moment but he plans to submit a firm proposal to the PBA Board of Governors at a meeting next Thursday. Another point of discussion is who will be the next Gilas head coach. Panlilio said while the SBP will decide the composition of the pool of 24 and the next head coach, it’s critical to get inputs from the PBA.

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 Meralco makes its second straight semis appearance after ousting Mahindra. Photo courtesy of the PBA Media Bureau

Meralco clipped Mahindra once again, this time to secure a seat in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Saturday.

The Bolts shrugged off a sluggish start to close out the Enforcer, 105-82, in their quarterfinals match at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Allen Durham sizzled with his 24 points, 16 boards, and six assists to lead the way for Meralco, which also got 19 and 14 markers from Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge.

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Kevin Garnett had a penchant for mixing the culinary arts with basketball to offer explanations. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

It's impossible to properly explain what Kevin Garnett meant to the Boston Celtics after his arrival in 2007. His legacy will forever hang above the Garden floor in the form of the 2008 title banner, and his No. 5 jersey will soon find a spot nearby.

When you think about Garnett's tenure in Boston, you think about all the chest-pounds, the howls, the knuckle push-ups. You think about the pure bliss that enveloped him with the mere glimpse of his beloved Gino dancing on the JumboTron. As Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck noted near the end of Garnett's tenure in Boston, "I'll never see another Kevin Garnett in my life."

But one of the bright spots of Garnett's retirement this week after 21 NBA seasons has been going through the archives of stories from during his time in Boston and reliving a bit of that KG magic.

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Lassiter: We need to close out games better (September 25, 2016)
Bong Lozada [ Source: Inquirer ]

Marcio Lassiter. PBA IMAGES

San Miguel needed just one win to advance to the semifinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup, but against NLEX the defending champions had to labor just to get over the hump.

And Marcio Lassiter said they have to learn from their near-collapse against the Road Warriors as they continue  their defense of the title.

“We gotta close out better. NLEX made big shots, you can’t say they didn’t make shots, they made big shots,” said Lassiter after their 114-110 nail-biter. “So you know it was going to be a close game.”

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International Basketball

The Singapore Slingers went down the wire against Mighty Sports (Philippines) but missed out by a hair and lost to the team from the Philippines 72-70.

Dewarick Spencer had a huge second half en route to 31 points and 11 rebounds for Mighty Sports. Justin Howard made a valiant effort and got himself a huge 24-point, 20-rebound game but was still short of shouldering his team to the 2016 Merlion Cup Finals.

It was not the start that the Singapore Slingers had desired in this game. An electric alleyoop dunk by Hamady Ndiaye would give Mighty Sports a commanding 7 point lead while also keeping the Slingers scoreless with three minutes gone by in the first quarter. Justin Howard would later score 6 points in the quarter for the Slingers and Mighty Sports would lead by only 21-15.

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UE ‘lacked push’ vs erratic Ateneo, says Pasaol (September 25, 2016)
Bong Lozada [ Source: Inquirer ]

UE’s Alvin Pasaol. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

University of the East had one hell of a run in the face of a rebuilding Ateneo, the only problem is, the Red Warriors’ scoring outburst lasted just one quarter.

A 23-10 second quarter output was the best the Red Warriors could muster as the Blue Eagles cruised to an 84-69 victory.

After UE seized a 32-30 lead at half, the Blue Eagles responded with an 28-14 third quarter and never looked back.

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7 Arnold Van Opstal (PHI) - China v Philippines, 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge (IRI), Tehran(Islamic Republic of Iran), Second Round, 12 September 2016

MANILA - The Philippines have raised their status on the world stage these past few years after impressive showings in continental and world level tournaments. The team known as Gilas Pilipinas finished in second place back-to-back in the 2013 and 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, finished on the podium in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, and were highly competitive in the 2016 FIBA OQT.

It’s no secret that the Philippines have been regarded as not only a hotbed of basketball energy but also a potential contender on a global scale. Their most recent exploits at the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016, however, have given some folks at home reason to to be anxious.

Gilas Pilipinas lost all but one of their games in that tournament, defeating Kazakhstan on Day 5 after successive losses to India, Chinese Taipei and China. The Filipinos ended their campaign on the wrong end of a blowout at the hands of Jordan on Day 6.

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