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Meralco vs. Alaska. PBA Media Bureau

The Alaska Aces and the Meralco Bolts face off one last time for the right to enter the championship round in the winner-take-all Game Five of the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Tip-off is set at 7 p.m. live on TV5.

The short series is headed to a deciding Game Five after the close fight the two teams have engaged in.

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Count former Houston Rockets star Robert Reid among things not going James Harden's way these days.

Harden admitted after the team's playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors that the Rockets "had too many distractions, a bumpy road" from the very start this season.

Reid, who played 10 seasons for the Rockets and averaged 11.4 points over a 14-year NBA career, on Monday told KHOU 11 Sports that those issues start with Harden.

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 The hungrier team will reach the finals, says Alaska coach Alex Compton. Photo from the PBA Media BureauMANILA -- All Alaska needs to do is win one more game to reach this year’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

Aces coach Alex Compton was frustrated that they weren’t able to that in Game 4 last Monday when the Meralco Bolts hammered out an 86-70 verdict and force a winner-take-all Game 5 in the semifinals.

“I was afraid that with us being one step away from the Finals, the guys were too relaxed and they didn’t understand how hard Meralco is going to play. And we addressed that after Game 3, straight on, that Meralco is going to come out and give their best, so we better be ready. And we weren’t ready,” Compton told the PBA website.

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Tamaraws battle Stags in Premier Cup debut (May 04, 2016)
Jasmine W. Payo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Local Basketball

A FAR Eastern University squad that lost its champion core kicks off its campaign in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup Wednesday.

The Tamaraws—who will have to do without the stars who powered them to the UAAP crown last season—will clash with San Sebastian at 1:30 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

University of the Philippines, with coach Bo Perasol making his debut, tangles with Perpetual Help at 3:15 p.m. in a heavy five-game bill of the premier preseason basketball tournament.

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Jimmy Alapag. PBA Media Bureau

When Meralco point guard Jimmy Alapag came out of retirement to join the Bolts prior to this season, he probably did not expect them to win just one of 11 games en route to an early exit in the Philippine Cup, his first conference back as a player.

It didn’t take the team long to erase the bitterness of that campaign, though, as they bounced back strong in the ongoing Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup, where they are now a win away from reaching the championship round for the first time in the history of the franchise.

“I couldn’t be happier for the team. The credit goes to the players, the coaches, for such a big turnaround from last conference. But again, the job isn’t done yet,” Alapag said.

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La Salle’s Abu Tratter wanted to get under the skin of Papi Sarr in one instance in the third quarter and he got shoved by the Cameroonian center, Kib Montalbo gave the smallest player on the court CJ Cadua a body check in the fourth period and the 5-foot-5 point guard, who crashed hard on the floor, quickly got back on his feet and knocked down two free throws as if nothing happened.

For much of La Salle’s preseason game against Adamson on Saturday, the Green Archers tried to bully their way to victory.

The Archers, hands down favorites next season, won the game but they couldn’t insert any fear into these new breed of Falcons not through the physicality nor their sheer talent. La Salle’s 98-88 win didn’t dictate how hard the Archers had to push themselves in a game they were expect to dominate from start to finish.

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The side of LeBron's strong finishes you don't see (May 04, 2016)
Adam Reisinge [ Source: ESPN ]

LeBron James. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

When LeBron James plowed through a foul from Paul Millsap to finish a cutting layup late in the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 1 win over the Atlanta Hawks, observers on Twitter reacted as they had countless times before. “He’s too strong,” “He’s not human,” and “How does he do that” were common refrains among fans on Twitter, as the Cavaliers star managed to compose himself in midair to score the basket despite the contact and head to the free throw line for the first time in the game, putting the Cavs up by seven in a game they went on to win by 11.

I can’t speak to his humanity -- though there’s no evidence to suggest that he’s not a member of the human race -- but as for how he does that, that’s a slightly easier question to answer. It’s the product of hard work, and specific work, the kind of which few get to see, and even fewer have gotten to experience. I happen to be one of those few.

Now, to be clear, I am not LeBron James. I can slip on his size 50, +4 length jersey and lace up his signature LeBron XIII sneakers, but that doesn’t make me the Cavaliers star. And while I might tip the scales the same as the four-time MVP’s listed weight, he has a good 10 inches on me -- and his weight is mostly muscle, mine is decidedly not. So it's safe to say when I step onto a basketball court, no one is going to confuse me with the 12-time All-Star. But for one day at All-Star Weekend, I got a chance to feel what it was like to be LeBron James on a basketball court, thanks to Nike’s “Bring Your Game” workout program. It gave me incredible insight into how he gets his body and game ready for those powerful finishes at the basket that leave fans in awe.

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Alex Compton. PBA Media Bureau

The Alaska Aces have enjoyed plenty of success since embracing the ‘we not me’ philosophy, with the team making three finals appearances in the last four conferences.

In Game 4 of the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, Alaska seemed to veer away from that mentality as they played in an individualistic manner and their usual energy dropped on the defensive end.

It’s something head coach Alex Compton and his coaching staff need to address in time for the do-or-die fifth game on Wednesday night.

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Steve Javie spent 25 seasons working as an NBA referee. He officiated more than 1,000 games, including 230 playoff games and more than a dozen NBA Finals.

With a resume like that, you’d think he’s seen it all.

Late Monday night, Javie witnessed a sequenced he’d never seen before.

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Perasol brings coaching experience from Blue Eagles to Maroons (May 04, 2016)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Former Blue Eagles coach Bo Perasol. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

New UP coach Bo Perasol knows that bringing the Fighting Maroons back to Final Four contention would be no easy feat.

That’s why he’s willing to be patient as he takes on the challenge of leading his alma mater back to a contention.

“The immediate goal is to improve from last season’s performance. Hopefully, we can have a fighting chance for the Final Four this year,” Perasol said, after he was formally introduced as the new head coach on Monday.

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