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Othyus Jeffers finished with 31 points and 20 rebounds for Ginebra. PBA Media Bureau

 Barangay Ginebra fell one basket short of getting a win on their first game of the Commissioner's Cup on Friday night, but the Gin Kings played an overall good game against a dangerous NLEX squad to start the conference.

Othyus Jeffers, the shortest among the import cast at 6-foot-5, did not disappoint as he came out with a 31-point, 20-rebound performance that would have been a monster game in itself if not for Al Thornton's 50-point explosion.

He assured the Ginebra supporters that he would carry the team in the following games.

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Al Thornton of NLEX with a jumpshot. InterAksyon.com/Ver Marquez

Former NBA player Al Thornton is back for a second stint playing as an import in the PBA and in just his first game back, he’s already sent a message to the rest of the league.

The NLEX import torched Barangay Ginebra for 50 points on Friday night, matching his achievement from last season when he likewise reached the half-century mark against the same franchise. His big-time contributions proved too much for the Kings as his Road Warriors eked out an overtime win, 114-112, in their first game in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“People said he’s got one leg but he’s amazing out there,” NLEX’s veteran center Asi Taulava told InterAksyon.com of his returning teammate.

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Shaquille O'Neal is a finalist for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The entire class will be unveiled April 4 in Houston before the NCAA title game. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

TORONTO -- Shaquille O'Neal was just 9 years old when his stepfather began teaching him basketball with a plan to dominate like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Young Shaquille didn't even know who they were. Now he's on the verge of joining them in basketball immortality.

"He told me this day would happen and I never believed him,'' O'Neal said of Phillip Harrison, who raised Shaq along with his mother and died in 2013.

O'Neal was chosen Friday as a finalist for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, joining Allen Iverson to highlight the potential class.

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Othyus Jeffers of Ginebra. PBA Media Bureau

When Othyus Jeffers came first came to the Philippines two years ago, he was able to play just one game for his PBA club – then the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters – before contract issues forced him to cut his stint short.

In his return to the PBA, this time for Barangay Ginebra, Jeffers is making sure he’s here to stay.

“I’ll get you the rest of the conference,” Jeffers assured while addressing the Ginebra faithful.

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Al Thornton drops 50 against Ginebra. PBA Media Bureau

NLEX import Al Thornton scored 50 points – including 10 in overtime – to lead his Road Warriors to a rousing 114-112 win over Barangay Ginebra to open their PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Thornton, who also tallied 50 in a game against Ginebra last season, continued his mastery over the Kings, shooting 16-for-30 (53%) from the field and 16-for-20 (80%) from the free throw line in an efficient offensive performance.

He was stellar in the extra period, making both of his shot attempts from the field and going a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe to help ensure the win.

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Tony Parker.

France may be ranked as the fifth best team in FIBA, they are expected to lock horns with the young and upcoming Canadian basketball team in the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the Rio Olympics.

People may blame it on Vince Carter for starting to show how basketball is played in Canada during his Toronto Raptors years, but things have been going well for the country right above the United States of America.

First of all, looking at the team’s lineup – the most prominent name that you will see is the player that was supposed to replace LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Andrew Wiggins.

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Romeo downplays 40-point explosion in GlobalPort loss (February 13, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Terrence Romeo vs two defenders. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Terrence Romeo may have tied his career-best 41 points on Friday, but he wasn’t in any mood for celebration as GlobalPort fell to Mahindra, 111-98, to start the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“Walang kwenta yung career-high kung talo kami. Ang mahalaga sa akin panalo kahit ilang points lang magawa ko,” he said.

The super scorer quickly shut down the notion that this early loss may still be connected to their historic semifinals appearance in the PBA Philippine Cup, a first in franchise history.

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Niño Canaleta led Mahindra with 20 points. InterAksyon.com/Ver Marquez

The Mahindra Enforcers blitzed past the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 111-98, to open their OPPO PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on a high note Friday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

KG Canaleta, who was celebrating his 34th birthday, finished with 20 points, including four of six triples, to go along with six boards to lead the Enforcers whose hot shooting in the first quarter gave them a cushion until the end.

Terrence Romeo matched his career-high 41 points to begin the new conference with a bang but he couldn’t carry GlobalPort to a win as Mahindra converted clutch baskets in the end.

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Hiejima has big hopes for Japan (February 13, 2016)
[ Source: FIBA ]

International Basketball

TOKYO (2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments) - Makoto Hiejima and his Japan teammates are on a mission. They have a burning desire to lift the national side to new heights in international basketball.

The players want to win games and qualify for major tournaments. They want success. They need success.

By not only playing attractive basketball but also winning important games, Team Hayabusa can raise the profile of the sport in the Far East nation.

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D-League

Snooky Morial hurried her way to Ortigas from work at Bonifacio Global City to meet her family and see their favorite team meet its diehard fans.

Morial, the 31-year-old mother of three who works at for a houskeeping service in Taguig, arrived four hours before the San Miguel Beermen’s meet and greet session at Robinsons Galleria started.

As early as she was, Morial didn’t even get the prime seats and it only took a couple more hours for hundreds of fans stood and crowd the mall’s activity area and its steel railings from the first floor up to the fourth.

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