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Meralco Bolts. PBA Media Bureau

The Meralco Bolts aim to ride the momentum of their rousing win last outing as they seek to take a 2-1 series lead against the Alaska Aces in Game Three of the best-of-five Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Gametime is set at 7 p.m. live on TV5.

The Bolts, behind Jared Dillinger’s hot shooting in the fourth quarter, pulled out a tough 92-87 victory over the Aces in Game Two on Wednesday to level the series at 1-1.

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Kyle Lowry, right, is finding other ways to contribute for the Raptors. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry is still the same relentless player he was during the regular season, the engine that makes the Toronto Raptors go.

But for the second consecutive postseason, he hasn’t made shots. Through the first five games against the Indiana Pacers, Lowry is shooting just 31.4 percent from the field (22-for-70) and 18.8 percent (6-for-32) from 3-point territory.

The Raptors will live with that, however, as long as he’s doing everything else. And so far he has been.

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Arizona Reid. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

At least for one game, the Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen hardly looked like they even needed an import.

But their All-Filipino win in Game 3 on Thursday not only meant that they would stay alive in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series, it also bought them enough time to bring in an old friend to help them in the coming games.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria confirmed to sportswriters that balik-import Arizona ‘AZ’ Reid is coming back to help the Beermen cause.

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers star Paul George said he is willing to play 48 minutes in Friday night's Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors if needed.

"If that's the direction that the game is going, I'm all for it," George said after Thursday's practice. "Whatever we got to do to win, I'm doing it."

George scored 39 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists in 41 minutes during Game 5, but it wasn't enough, as the Raptors came back from a 17-point deficit to take a 3-2 series lead. George admitted Thursday that he's "still not over" the end of Game 5, in which the Pacers blew a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead.

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Why San Miguel let Tyler Wilkerson go (April 29, 2016)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

Tyler Wilkerson was sent home following his Game 2 outburst. PBA Media Bureau

Leo Austria took a huge gamble in San Miguel's do-or-die Game Three against Rain or Shine in the semifinals after deciding to dump Tyler Wilkerson and go with an All-Filipino lineup.

But after avoiding a sweep with a 104-98 victory on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City, the coach was in a joyful mood when he took the podium to talk to the media.

"Thank God I proved something because if not so, baka matanggal na ako dito," he said with a laugh. "We're lucky dahil nanalo kami ngayon. If not, baka kasama na kami sa Boracay Cup."

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Road to Rio ‘test of manhood’ for Gilas Pilipinas (April 29, 2016)
Mark Giongco [ Source: Inquirer ]

International Basketball

Booking a ticket to the Rio Olympics could be the greatest challenge yet for the country’s men’s national basketball team under its current program and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan knows the kind of task that lies ahead.

“It’s a test of manhood,” Pangilinan told reporters on Wednesday night following the Meralco Bolts’ comeback win over the Alaska Aces in Game 2 of their semifinals series.

“I mean, those are NBA-type teams,” Pangilinan, the top Philippine sports patron, said as he pondered on the kind of competition Gilas Pilipinas will be facing in the Manila qualifiers this July. “I think Canada has eight to nine NBA [players].”

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San Miguel Beermen coach Leo Austria. photo by Tristan Tamayo/

Among PBA fans, the meme of "going to Boracay" has spread like wildfire for teams that have been eliminated from title contention.

Naughty netizens have even created the mythical Boracay Cup — a championship for teams that have gone on vacation.

Apparently, the terminology has reached even the PBA's champion coaches.

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Tyronn Lue, right, said Thursday that his former boss, David Blatt, left, deserves another shot be a head coach in the NBA. David Richard/USA TODAY Sports

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue would like to see his former boss, David Blatt, get another NBA job.

Blatt was fired in January despite a 30-11 record and replaced by Lue, who guided Cleveland to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson met with Blatt on Monday to discuss the team's head-coaching vacancy, league sources confirmed to ESPN's Ian Begley.

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 TRAPPED. Beermen swarm on Elasto Painters import Pierre Henderson-Niles. Photo by KC CRUZ, GMA News

Rain or Shine failed to close out their semifinals series against an All-Filipino San Miguel Beer on Thursday night, but head coach Yeng Guiao treats the 104-98 loss as just a hump on their road to another finals appearance in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

The Elasto Painters took Games One and Two to push the Beermen on the brink of elimination, but SMB brought out their championship heart despite missing their import Tyler Wilkerson.

Guiao admitted that the absence of the volume-scoring reinforcement may have lulled his players into committing the sin of relaxing against the most dominant team in the league.

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Hornets pull out all their tricks in Game 5 (April 29, 2016)
Zach Lowe [ Source: ESPN ]


Charlotte has taken three straight from the reeling Heat mostly because its defense has held Miami to a pitiful 89 points per 100 possessions over the past three games.

Miami was never going to keep up the fiery pace it established during its first two wins, when point guard Goran Dragic was canning step-back 3s and rookie Justise Winslow, getting damn near the Tony Allen treatment, drained some long jumpers. The Heat just don't have enough shooting when any three of Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Winslow are on the floor, and things get tight when only two of them are out there.

Scoring is hard work for the Heat, even when they make it look easy. The Heat have to the run the floor hard and pluck the low-hanging fruit of transition points. In the halfcourt, any smart opposing defense will clog the paint to snuff out Miami's first option; on bad nights, the Heat have to drive-and-kick their way through options two, three and four to scrounge a clean look. When they're a little weary, as they appeared in Game 4, they won't score enough to win.

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