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123 Jul 21
Perth Wildcats captain Damian Martin says the talent on show in the NBL is the best hes seen and it will take something special to win back-to-back championships. Darnell Nurse Oilers Jersey .The NBL has been bolstered by an influx of homegrown and international talent this season and interest in the league has also been boosted by the long-awaited return of the Brisbane Bullets.The increase from two to three imports for each club has helped raise the quality of rosters around the league, meaning the Wildcats face a stern challenge to defend their title.Martin has been part of the NBL since 2008 and hes never seen it this strong.Its my 10th season in the NBL and its by far the strongest the league has been as a whole, Martin said.The calibre weve brought in this year has been incredible.The Wildcats have introduced two new imports - Jaron Johnson and Jameel McKay.They join fellow American Casey Prather on a talented Wildcats list.Perth have won an NBL record seven crowns. But they havent gone back-to-back since the Ricky Grace-powered teams of 1990 and 1991.Its motivating to try to achieve that, Martin said.Its been a great seven years Ive been here but that one thing we havent been able to eclipse is the Ricky Grace era when they were able to go back-to-back.If we could do that this season, it would be special.The loss of star centre Nate Jawai to Cairns is a big blow to the Wildcats.Jawai was a 143kg powerhouse who dominated the paint. By comparison, 206cm McKay weighs in at 96kg. Martin said the change in personnel meant the Wildcats would attempt to become a faster-paced team.The Wildcats begin their title defence away to Brisbane on October 6.Star Bullets recruit Cameron Bairstow (shoulder) is under an injury cloud but former Wildcats import Jermaine Beal will line up against his old side in whats shaping up as a grudge match.I did see him in Brisbane. I told him were going for a players dinner and he said hed stop by because its a free feed, Martin said of Beal.Dollas one of the best players in the league. He was a great teammate.Im excited to be matched up on him. It will be weird seeing him in a maroon jersey while were wearing red. Darnell Nurse Jersey . -- Brandon Jennings made the most of his first game with the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. Jari Kurri Oilers Jersey . -- Mike Smith never saw his first NHL goal go in. http:///...pkins-oilers-jersey/ . Burris threw two TD passes, including a key 15-yard fourth-quarter strike to Bakari Grant that effectively countered a Toronto comeback bid and led Hamilton to a 33-19 victory. LOS ANGELES -- After taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers will try to keep the good times flowing when they host the Philadelphia Phillies for a three-game set beginning Monday.Dodgers 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias (1-2, 4.98 ERA) will face Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (3-4, 4.77 ERA) in the series opener.Urias, who has gone back and forth from Triple-A Oklahoma City to Los Angeles, appeared in relief for the Dodgers on Wednesday, allowing three runs in three innings in a loss to the Colorado Rockies. Urias hasnt won a start since beating the Milwaukee Brewers on June 19.He has never opposed the Phillies.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was tight-lipped when asked if Urias would be on a pitch count.Hes going to go as long as I think he can go, Roberts said.Eflin, who will be facing the Dodgers for the first time, is 3-2 with a 4.28 ERA in his past seven starts with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks. However, he yielded a total of 13 runs in 10 innings in his past two outings, a road loss to the Miami Marlins on July 27 and a no-decision at home against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 2.The Phillies (52-61) won two of three in a weekend series at San Diego. In a 6-5 win over the Padres on Sunday, the Phillies turned a triple play, the first one recorded at Petco Park.The big play to that game was the triple play, Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. Were leading by one, two on, no one out ... and just like that, were out of the inning.Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos opened the bottom of the seventh by issuing back-to-back walks to Derek Norris and Jose Rondon. That brought up rookie Jabari Blash.TThe option there was the bunt, but I had the swing sign, Blash said. Kyle Brodziak Jersey. He swung and hit a one-hopper to Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who stepped on the bag to force Norris at third. Franco threw to second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who forced Rondon. Hernandez completed the play with a relay to first baseman Tommy Joseph to beat Blash to the bag.I tried to get down the line as quick as I could, Blash said.Rookie Rob Segedin was the headliner in Los Angeles 8-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. Segedin had four RBI, the first Dodger to ever do so in his major league debut.Justin Turner, Adrian Gonzalez and Enrique Hernandez hit home runs for the Dodgers, who closed within a game of the National League West-leading Giants. Gonzalez collected his 300th career homer.Its pretty cool to take a step back and enjoy it for a few hours and go back at it again tomorrow, said Gonzalez, who became the seventh active player to reach 300 home runs and 400 doubles. Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Miguel Cabrera are the others.The Dodgers (62-49) will remain without Rich Hill through the Phillies series. The left-hander was bumped from starting Sunday because of another blister developing on his left middle finger. He is now scheduled to start Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.Hill, who is on the 15-day disabled list because of the first blister, has yet to make his initial start with the Dodgers since being obtained in a trade with the Oakland As on Aug. 1. ' ' '