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Russian Federation (5) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
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KG Canaleta of NLEX. PBA Image by Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX forward Niño "KG" Canaleta will focus on competing in the three-point shootout after a sore knee forced him to withdraw from the Slam Dunk Contest in the upcoming PBA All-Star Weekend.

Five-time Slam Dunk champion Canaleta was originally part of the field for this year's contest but changed his mind.

"Nag-decide na lang ako na mag-withdraw sa Slam Dunk, kasi 'pag pinilit talaga, baka lumala lang," Canaleta told, referring to his sore knee. "Though nakakalaro ako, nararamdaman ko 'yung sa tuhod."

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LeBron James, left, was the recipient of a flagrant foul Wednesday from Jonas Valanciunas, right, the second flagrant on James in his past three games. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO -- After being the recipient of a second flagrant foul in his past three games, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said he might have to take matters into his own hands in the future.

"Maybe I got to protect myself a little bit more, too," James said after the Cavs' 120-112 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas wrapped James up around the neck and shoulders as he drove the lane with 18.8 seconds left in the third quarter. The infraction was initially whistled as a common foul before being upgraded to a flagrant foul 1 after an official's review of the video replay.

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Mark Macapagal. PBA Images/Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco gunner Mark Macapagal seeks an unprecedented sixth three-point shootout title while Purefoods Star spitfire Mark Barroca goes for back-to-back crowns in the obstacle challenge as the 2015 PBA All-Star Week gets going Friday in Puerto Princesa City.

Today’s events serve as an appetizer to the annual All-Star Game pitting North versus South on Sunday.

Sharing the crown last year, Justin Melton and Rey Guevarra also headline a strong field that includes Japeth Aguilar and Gabe Norwood in the slam dunk competition.

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NEW YORK -- Charlotte Hornets scoring leader Kemba Walker has been cleared to resume all basketball activities, moving him closer to a return from left knee surgery.

Walker said Wednesday after Charlotte's 115-91 victory in Brooklyn that he hopes he can play sometime next week during the Hornets' three-game homestand.

"I'm excited. I've been anxious," Walker said. "I've been working hard trying to get back to competing with my teammates. And I got some great news, so I'm excited."

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MANILA, Philippines—Before hitting the court, the PBA All-Stars took the time to reach out to their fans in Palawan and take in the atmosphere of the Philippines’ last frontier.

In the morning, the rookies and sophomores,together with PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, brought smiles to the patients of the children’s ward at the Ospital ng Palawan as they gave away T-shirts and free gifts.

Later in the day, the PBA delegation participated in a tree-planting activity in in Barangay Mangingisda, some 45 minutes away from Puerto Princesa City proper.

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Local Basketball

MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion Chiang Kai Shek College leads the quest for the right to be called No. 1 juniors team in the land when all 18 finalists kick off the 2015 Seaoil-NBTC National High School Championships Friday at three different venues.

The CKSC Blue Dragons debut against University of Cordilleras (Baguio) at 9:45 a.m. at Philsports Arena in Pasig before taking on St. John’s Institute (Bacolod) at 2:15 p.m. at Ynares Sports Arena.

Also highlighting the grueling opening day schedule is the clash between Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and Assumption College (Davao) at 12:30 p.m. after the 11:30 a.m. inaugural ceremony at Ynares Sports Arena.

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Nicolas Batum rallies Blazers to OT win over Clippers (March 05, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 4: Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 4, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES -- Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer that forced overtime, then set up three alley-oop baskets and added a clinching 3 in the final minute to rally the Portland Trail Blazers past the Los Angeles Clippers 98-93 on Wednesday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and Batum added 20 for the Northwest Division leaders, who have won four straight after a 6-11 stretch that began with a 100-94 loss to the Clippers on Jan. 14 at Portland.

The Blazers trailed by 10 with 2:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. Batum tied it at 87 on a 3 with 25.1 seconds left.

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Stephen Curry shakes off early slump to lead Warriors over Bucks (March 05, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr pats Stephen Curry on the back as Curry re-enters the Warriors' NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second half Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry needed just over a minute to turn a rough shooting night into a good one.

Curry made three straight 3-pointers in a span of 65 seconds in the fourth quarter to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-93 on Wednesday night in their return from a season-high, six-game road trip.

"Steph had arguably one of his worst games of the year going," coach Steve Kerr said. "But that's Steph. That's why he's Stephen Curry. I used to watch it with Michael Jordan. On nights where he missed 10 shots in a row, when everyone else would just clam up, he just all of a sudden would find that incredible confidence. It's unbreakable. Steph has that.

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Davis has huge game in return, Pelicans beat Pistons 88-85 (March 05, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 4: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the game against the Detroit Pistons on March 4, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis was feeling great, fired up about being back on the court and not at all subtle about showing it.

He struck a momentary pose with a huge smile after he'd finished a fast break with a soaring, one-handed dunk. He celebrated with a crouching fist pump after a clutch, mid-range jumper in the final minute.

When it was over, Davis had piled up 39 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in his return from a right shoulder sprain, and the New Orleans Pelicans won for the sixth time in seven games, 88-85 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

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Home cooking: Spurs return to their court, beat Kings 112-85 (March 05, 2015)
Associated Press [ Source: ESPN ]

San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard (2) drives past Sacramento Kings defenders Jason Thompson (34) and Ben McLemore (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and the San Antonio Spurs punctuated their return from a nearly monthlong road trip with their largest home victory of the season, 112-85 over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Tony Parker added 19 points and three assists while guiding the Spurs to 53 percent shooting. San Antonio had five players in double figures and everyone scored.

The Spurs got off to a fast start in their first home game since returning from their annual rodeo road trip. The team for years has been forced out of their home court for much of February because the AT&T Center hosts a rodeo.

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