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Atlanta Hawks begin a long, painful rebuilding process

em>By Paul Newberry, Associated Press /em> ATLANTA (AP) — Let the rebuilding begin for the Atlanta Hawks. After an all-too-brief run among the NBA’s elite, the Hawks are starting over with a largely anonymous squad and no hope of challenging the top teams. Four-time All-Star Paul Millsap was allowed to walk. Dwight Howard was dumped after one dismal season with his hometown team. Coach Mike Budenholzer lost much of his immense power after several ill-fated personnel decision. What’s left is a dynamic point guard, Dennis Schroder, and not much else. The roster is filled with the sort of players that generally make up a team more focused on the future than the present: career backups, journeymen, raw prospects and those who never panned out for one reason or another. Hard to believe it was only three years ago that the Hawks led the East with 60 wins and reached the conference final. New general manager Travis Schlenk made it clear that his two immediate priorities were to get younger and gain “financial flexibility” — essentially code for a team that’s not going to be very competitive for several seasons while it clears out overpriced contracts and accumulates draft picks, all in hopes of making a big splash down the road. “Our goal for the season is to see growth in all our guys,” Schlenk said, not mentioning anything about wins and losses. The probably means Hawks fans are in for a bumpy ride this season. “These are scrappy guys, these are competitive guys, these are prideful guys,” Schlenk said, doing his best to sound hopeful. “Now, we’re going to be young. Historically, teams that are young take it on the chin a little bit.” ___ Some other things to keep an eye on for the Atlanta Hawks: strong>SCHRODER GOES IT ALONE: /strong>Heading into his second season as a starter, Schroder is the unquestioned leader of team in flux. He ranked second in scoring behind Millsap at 17.9 points per game and averaged a team-high 6.3 assists. He’ll be counted on to carry even more of the load on a roster that lacks any big-time scorers. More telling will be whether the 24-year-old shows some much-needed maturity. He had several off-the-court issues a year ago, and this season got off to a troubling start with his arrest on misdemeanor charges after a brawl at a late-night club. strong>BAZEMORE BOUNCEBACK: /strong>After signing a huge contract, Kent Bazemore struggled through an injury plagued season and lost his starting job. Insisting he’s fully recovered, the former D-Leaguer needs to start living up to his status as Atlanta’s highest-paid player. He must improve his outside shooting, having connected on less than 41 percent a season ago, while continuing to bring positive energy and effort to a team that figures to endure plenty of long nights. strong>YOUTH MOVEMENT: /strong>Forward Taurean Prince, a first-round pick in 2016, moved into the lineup late in the season and played an integral role in the playoffs, averaging more than 11 points per game. The Hawks will be looking for similar progress out of their year’s top draft choice, John Collins. The 6'10' forward from Wake Forest is a dynamic athlete who has to expand his shooting range. If that improves, he’ll likely take on an increased role as the season goes along. strong>STEPPING UP: /strong>The Hawks take great pride in their player development, and they’ll have plenty of projects to work with this season. Forward Luke Babbitt is someone who could break out in a high-tempo offense that relies heavily on the 3-point shot. In seven NBA seasons, he’s yet to average more than 7.0 points per game, but he’s hit nearly 41 percent of his career attempts beyond the arc. Also figuring to play a much bigger role are fifth-year big man Mike Muscala and forward DeAndre’ Bembry, a first-round pick in 2016 who saw limited time as a rookie. strong>BUDENHOLZER’S ROLE: /strong>He’s back for his fifth season as the Hawks’ coach, but Budenholzer was stripped of his title as president of basketball operations. Enter Schlenk, who was hired as general manager after working in the front office of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Schlenk has the final say on roster moves, and it will be interesting to see how he meshes with the coach he inherited — and how Budenholzer deals with a new boss. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2017

Perfect Pirates, Player of the Week Perez making it look easy

As Lyceum of the Philippines University draws nearer to a historic elimination round sweep in the NCAA Season 93, CJ Perez is starting to make it look easy. Perez was once again at the forefront of the Pirates' attack as they siezed win number 16, 81-69, over Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Friday. Perez scored 10 of his 24 points in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter to repeatedly turn back every rally from the Knights and move his crew two wins away from completing an 18-game elimination round sweep. For his exploits, he once again bagged the Chooks-to-Go NCAA Press Corps Player of the Week Award. Perez' effortless destruction of the Knights earned him the praises of head coach Topex Robinson, but for his longtime mentor it's really the attitude of his prized wingman which truly stands out. 'Conscious siya pag nagkamali siya. He knows na nagkamali siya. One thing I like about him, and I always try to brag about my coaches in Alaska, he will never blame yung kasama,' said Robinson. 'Hindi siya yung, pag hindi pinasahan magagalit. He knows that kumbaga, he knows (he needs) the support of everyone,' he added. It was the second time Perez bagged the weekly award handed out by sports scribes. He was the very first player to be feted the individual recognition this season. To do so, Perez edged out impressive performances from Mapua University's Andoy Estrella, San Beda College's Javee Mocon, Jose Rizal University's Jed Mendoza, and Arellano University's Kent Salado. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 8th, 2017

Vikings RB Cook has torn ACL as feared, ending rookie year

em>By Dave Campbell, Associated Press /em> EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Dalvin Cook became the latest integral offensive player lost by the bad-luck-trodden Minnesota Vikings. The team’s fear of a torn ACL in the rookie running back’s left knee was realized Monday, sealing the end of a promising rookie season. Coach Mike Zimmer confirmed the diagnosis, signaling the switch to Latavius Murray as the primary ball carrier. Cook will have reconstructive surgery once the swelling subsides. Some additional cartilage damage was discovered, Zimmer said, but no additional ligaments were injured beyond the ACL. “He’s a great kid,” Zimmer said. “I’m extremely impressed with everything he’s done to this point. It’s obviously a terrible thing for him, and for us, but we’ll move forward and go on from there. He’s a great worker, and I have no doubt that he’ll come back from this.” Cook was injured trying to cut for more yards near the end of a run in the third quarter of Minnesota’s defeat by Detroit on Sunday . He lost a fumble on the play and needed help off the field. Afterward, he was on crutches, wearing a bulky brace. “I’m praying for him,” Murray said. “I told him I care about him, more than anything, that he’s all right.” Cook endured some shoulder trouble in college at Florida State, but this will be a new challenge. Not so for the Vikings, who are essentially still recovering from the dislocated left knee suffered by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last year and the domino effect it had on the roster. Bridgewater remains on the physically unable to perform list. His replacement, Sam Bradford, has missed three straight games because of a sore left knee. Several other starters on the offense in 2016 went down with season-ending injuries that left scars on the team psyche. They haven’t completely faded. As much as the stay-the-course mindset is preached around the league, necessitated by the injury-dominated sport with a 16-game schedule, Vikings players and even Zimmer acknowledged to feeling some frustration about the latest setback since the end of the 14-7 loss to the Lions. “It shows what kind of team you are when you just fight through that and keep playing,” wide receiver Adam Thielen said, “and hopefully we can get things together and start winning games.” Just when the Vikings offense was showing some balance and potency that wasn’t there last year, with a vastly improved offensive line run blocking and pass protecting with a command and consistency largely unseen in 2016, the most dynamic player has been cruelly removed from action . “Dalvin had unbelievable big-play ability in a lot of different ways,” Zimmer said. With 354 yards, Cook is third in the NFL in rushing. He has two touchdowns, plus 11 receptions for 90 yards for the Vikings (2-2), who play at Chicago next Monday. Jerick McKinnon will likely have his role expand along with Murray, but the Vikings might have to sign another veteran running back, too. “We’re looking at everything,” Zimmer said. Murray, in his first season with the team after leaving the Oakland Raiders, was limited through training camp as he worked his way back from surgery on his right ankle. Murray, who had seven carries for 21 yards after Cook left, said on Monday he still doesn’t think he’s 100 percent recovered. “But I feel good enough to be out there and I’m confident in myself that I can play at a high level,” Murray said. While the Vikings start work on keeping their season afloat, Cook will turn his attention to recovery and rehabilitation. He’ll have the benefit of Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and his staff, a group that has helped steer many a player back from significant injuries. Adrian Peterson, Cook’s predecessor at running back, is the most famous of the comeback stories. He was carrying the ball in the 2012 opener less than nine months after tearing his left ACL. Zimmer made sure to point this out to Cook in their conversations after the injury. “I expect him to come back,” Zimmer said, “and be the same as he was.” As for Bradford, well, his status is officially still in the nebulous day-to-day category. Whether Bradford or Case Keenum plays against the Bears is still unclear. “Everything he is doing is feeling better,” Zimmer said. “But obviously, we don’t know.” Though he’s not going to replace Cook, the Vikings at least can add another potential big-play piece to the offense this week with the return of wide receiver Michael Floyd from his four-game suspension. He’s more than ready to be done watching. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking. Obviously you want to be out there and play,” Floyd said. “But you just sit back, let the time fly. I’m excited to be back.” .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2017

Austin vows Garnett-like intensity for Chooks-Pilipinas

Isaiah Austin is a nice guy, he gives nice answers during interviews and overall, he's just a pretty good person. However, the moment he steps on the basketball, Isaiah Austin is a changed man. Unless you are his teammate, he's coming after you. Actually, even if you're his teammate but he feels like you're not playing on a level that's necessary for winning, Austin is going after you too. 'It's not gonna be a lot of smiles from me except for my teammates when we're playing well,' he said. 'But other than that, I'm trying to go at people's heads, I'm trying to dunk everything, I'm trying to block every shot, get every rebound. I try to be a monster, a beast,' Austin added. Isaiah's incredible passion for the sport is reminiscent of former NBA MVP Kevin Garnett, his favorite player. And KG, who won the NBA title for with the Boston Celtics back in 2008, is a pretty intense dude. 'My whole life, Kevin Garnett has been my favorite player. I feel like I have the same passion that he has, I have the same attitude on the court,' Austin said. 'You guys are gonna see how mean I am on the court, that's just because I'm so competitive and I wanna win,' he added. Despite being only 23 years old, the 7'1' Austin is relied upon to be the leader for Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas in the upcoming FIBA Asia Champions Cup. Isaiah is all for it. It's a challenge he's taking head on. 'That's completely fine with me [leadership role]. My whole career, I've been a leader on any team that I have been on judt because I'm very vocal and I'm very passionate about winning,' he said. 'I have a lot of passion for this game, it's given me so much. I feel like everybody needs to give back to it 100 percent. If I see a guy who's slacking, I'm gonna call them out and tell them to pick it up. You can't hang your head if you're missing shots, you can't hang your head if things don't go your way. You can always control your attitude and how hard you're playing,' Austin added.   br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2017

Ravena flies high as season's first Player of the Week

The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles are off to an impressive start in UAAP Season 80 after imposing victories over Adamson University, University of the Philippines, and just the other day, Far Eastern University  One of the catalysts of the Eagles’ hot start is third-year forward Thirdy Ravena who was named the Chooks-to-Go UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week for all his effort. The versatile swingman is averaging an all-around 18.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game to lead his team in their pristine 3-0 start. Ravena edged out runners-up Paul Desiderio of UP and Aljun Melecio of De La Salle University who both notched career-highs in scoring Part of last season’s Mythical Five, Ravena shared that he has learned to be a constant force for the Katipunan-based squad this year. “I need to stay more consistent than last season. Last season, I’ll have a good game then polar opposite (the next),” Ravena said. “I’m just mentally focused coming into the season that I need to stay consistent.” Ateneo has won over their opponents by a margin of 17.6 points per game with a variety of Eagles contributing in each outing. Ravena has made headlines with his numbers, but his teammates have been just as valuable - an indication of the team’s unselfishness and versatility. “The players have been terrific, their attitude has been that it doesn't matter how many minutes they play, they come in and they do their job. We'd like to keep it that way,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said about their depth. “I have to trust my teammates because everyone’s been doing a really good job,” echoed Ravena. “We’ve been winning cause everyone’s staying together and we followed whatever coach Tab (Baldwin) told us.” Ravena and the rest of the Blue Eagles will look to maintain their record unblemished as they take on the University of the East on September 24. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 18th, 2017

Federer survives Nadal thriller to win 18th Grand Slam title

Roger Federer defied age and his Grand Slam nemesis Rafael Nadal to win a record 18th Grand Slam title in a thrilling, five-set final at the Australian Open on Sunday. Federer, 35, won a classic encounter 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to become the oldest major-winner in 45 years and move four titles clear of Nadal and Pete Sampras on the all-time list. The veteran Swiss jumped for joy and cried tears of happiness as he sealed the win on his second championship point, ending a five-year wait for a big victory after Wimbledon in 2012. Neither Federer nor Nadal, 30, was expected to reach the final but both players grabbed their chance after the early demise of top seeds Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. And it was a final for the ages as momentum shifted from one side to the other before Federer finally seized control in the deciding set. 'That is a milestone in my career, they are always epic matches against Rafa,' said Federer, adding: 'Rafa has caused me the most problems in my career.' For Federer, it sealed an astonishing comeback from six months out with injury. His fifth Australian title came seven long years after his last, against Murray in 2010. 'Tennis is a tough sport, there's no draws. But if there was going to be one I would have been very happy to accept a draw tonight and share it with Rafa, really,' Federer said. 'Keep playing please, Rafa. Tennis needs you.' Federer becomes the oldest major champion since Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open in 1972 at the age of 37. His ranking has dipped to 17 after a knee problem ended last season following Wimbledon, but he will now rise to 10 when the new rankings are released this week. It was the 35th meeting between the two long-time rivals with Nadal now leading 23-12 and 6-3 in major finals, including his five-set win over Federer in the 2009 Australian final. 'Just fight' 'I would have said a great event would be making the quarters,' Federer said of his pre-tournament expectations. 'Today I just drove myself forward, I said, 'Believe in it, run for the ball. Serve and run, serve and run. Just fight and see if you get lucky. 'I did, really got lucky tonight.' Nadal, who has also come back to form and fitness after an injury-ravaged 2016, has held the edge over Federer in major finals, winning their last four. 'It's amazing how well he's playing after being away for so long. For sure, you have been working a lot to make that happen. I am very happy for you,' Nadal told the crowd. 'It was a good month for me, amazing month for me, really enjoyed it. I worked very hard to be where I am today. Probably Roger deserved it a little bit more than me.' 'I'm just going to keep on trying. Feel like I'm back to a very high level. I'll keep fighting this season.' Federer, playing aggressively and with a flatter backhand than normal, took the match to Nadal and got the only service break to take the opening set. Nadal fought back with two breaks to level before Federer got the bit between his teeth with a double break in the third set. The Spaniard hit back in the fourth set with a service break in the fourth game to take the final into a fifth set. He again broke the Swiss early in the final set but Federer stirred himself and broke Nadal twice before serving out for a brilliant and emotional victory. Federer, considered by many as the finest player in tennis history, is now the first man to win five or more titles at three different Grand Slam events. He has collected five Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons, five US Opens and one French Open in a span of victories which now stretches across 14 years. AFP    .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 29th, 2017

FEU’s Dennison: ‘Ayoko matapos UAAP career ko na talo’

Ron Dennison has had quite the career in the UAAP. With one championship to go along with five playoff appearances, he has been the constant in Far Eastern University’s consistent contention in recent memory. And in his fifth and final year, the now 23-year-old has posted his best individual numbers with per game counts of 11.6 points in 46.9 percent shooting to go along with 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals. Still, Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum could have been his last game in the UAAP as the fourth-seeded Tamaraws had a tall task in front of them – down erstwhile league-leading and twice-to-beat Ateneo de Manila University to remain in the running. For Dennison, the goal for his last game is plain and simple. “Sa akin, yung pagpunta ko pa lang dito sa game, ang mindset ko ay itong larong ito ay para sa pamilya ko,” he said. Indeed, the recruit from Cebu was only going to continue showcasing his skills so that he could also continue giving his family a brighter future. Still, he said that he wanted to keep wearing the green and gold just a little longer. As he put it, “Ayoko matapos yung UAAP career ko na talo kami. Gusto ko pa maglaro sa Finals.” And so, even during practices, Dennison urged his teammates to step up so that all of them would breathe more life into their campaign. “Sa practices namin last week, kinausap ko silang dapat ibigay na namin lahat. Yung takot namin, iniwanan na namin sa practice at puro lakas nang loob ang dinala namin sa game,” he shared. That much was evident as all of FEU just seemed more determined than the Blue Eagles in their matchup. “Buong game, sinasabi kong tulungan nila ako kasi ‘di ko rin naman kaya mag-isa,” he said. Arvin Tolentino and Hubert Cani were only more than willing to heed the call of their floor leader with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Another graduating player, big man Prince Orizu, also made his presence felt with 10 points and five rebounds while energy guy Richard Escoto made an impact as well with nine markers and seven boards. And in the end, the Tamaraws downed Ateneo, 80-67. And in the end, Ron Dennison will have one more game, at the very least, to play in the UAAP. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News10 hr. 37 min. ago

‘Quick adjustment’ for returning Blatche

Andray Blatche may have been away from Gilas Pilipinas for much of 2017, and yet the big man felt like he never left. Gilas held a practice session Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in preparation for its game against Japan in the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers where Blatche is once again the team's naturalized player. "We had practice earlier in the day and I'm pretty much comfortable with the offense, the defense, the players, and the coaching staff," said Blatche, who arrived in the country early Sunday morning. "It was a quick adjustment for me." Blatche was also visibly in great shape, a far cry when he arrived in the country for the last Fiba qualifiers in 2016. T...Keep on reading: ‘Quick adjustment’ for returning Blatche.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News13 hr. 37 min. ago

Mavericks stop 4-game slide with win against Bucks

DALLAS -- Wesley Matthews scored a season-high 22 points, and the Dallas Mavericks stopped a four-game slide with a 111-79 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Matthews also had eight assists while helping Dallas (3-14) to its first win since Nov. 7 at Washington. He had six of the Mavericks' franchise record-tying 19 3-pointers, J.J. Barea had 20 points for the Mavericks, and Harrison Barnes finished with 18. Yogi Ferrell had 16 points and Dwight Powell grabbed 13 rebounds. Milwaukee had won four in a row. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 17 rebounds for the Bucks (8-7), and Khris Middleton added 23 points. It was Milwaukee's first loss since it acquired Eric Bledsoe in a trade with the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 7. The Mavericks never trailed after Matthews' 3-pointer made it 22-20 with 3:07 left in the first quarter. Dallas went 19 for 38 from beyond the arc, including a shot clock-beating 3 from near midcourt by Barea that made it 88-64 in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee went 6 of 25 from 3-point range. TIP-INS Bucks: C John Henson went 3 for 10 at the free-throw line. ... Coach Jason Kidd had two stints in Dallas as a player and averaged 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 8.4 assists in 500 career games with the Mavericks. ... The Bucks host the Mavericks on Dec. 8. Mavericks: C Nerlens Noel only played three minutes. Noel played six minutes in Friday night's 111-87 loss to Minnesota and has been replaced in the rotation by Salah Mejri. ... Dallas still leads the NBA with 14 losses this season. UP NEXT Bucks: Host the Washington Wizards on Monday. Mavericks: Host the Boston Celtics on Monday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News22 hr. 58 min. ago

Foton bounces back, sweeps SLR

Games Tuesday: (Filoil Flying V Centre) 4:15 pm – Generika-Ayala vs Victoria Sports-UST 7:00 pm – Cignal vs F2 Logistics   LIPA CITY --- After suffering a sorry setback, defending champion Foton vented its ire on Sta. Lucia Realty as it pulled off a masterful 25-16, 25-11, 25-16 bounce back victory in the 2017 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the La Salle Lipa Sentrum here. Jaja Santiago had a brilliant performance while imports Sara Klisura and Dragana Perunicnic carried the cudgels for the Tornadoes. With the win, Foton is now bunched with rival Petron at the second spot with a 5-1 win-loss card behind unbeaten F2 Logistics, which sports a 4-0 slate. Based on the official league format, the top team after the single-round elimination will take on the eighth seeded squad while the second seed will meet the seventh seed; the third seed will clash with the sixth seed; and the fourth seed will battle the fifth seed in the sudden-death quarterfinal encounter. The survivors in the quarters will advance to the semis to determine the protagonists in the best-of-three finals series, which starts on Dec. 12. Foton head coach Moro Branislav knows that every match is important and clinching the top seed will definitely make their road to a three-peat much easier. “This is a very tough tournament and every game is very important,” said the seasoned Serbian mentor. “For my opinion, we can’t take anybody lightly. We always have to be at our best, work hard and go for the win. Today, the girls showed that they really want another title.” Santiago, the reigning Most Valuable Player, delivered 11 kills, two aces and a block to finish with 14 points while Klisura and Perunicnic delivered 17 and 14 markers, respectively, for the Tornadoes, who crushed the Lady Realtors at the attack zone, 42-24. Ukrainian Bodhana Anisova was the lone bright spot on offense for Sta. Lucia with 15 attacks. The Lady Realtors suffered their fourth setback in five matches......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2017

Old School Power Rankings 2017-18: Weeks 3 and 4

By Scott Wraight, NBA.com If you want to bump the King from his throne, you'd better come strong. Real strong. It's true, if you have hopes of ascending to the top of the mountain this season, you'd better turn in some memorable performances, triple-doubles, 40-point efforts and then some. That's what happens when the club opens its doors to "youngsters."  Even if you do all that, there's no guarantee you'll be sitting at the head of the table, not when a certain four-time MVP goes off for 57. Good luck, folks. Notes: - Season statistics are through games of Nov. 2 (Nov. 3, PHL time) - Any player who turns 32 during the regular season can be added to the rankings. 1.  LeBron James (32), Cleveland Cavaliers Previous rank: 1 Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 31.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 8.6 apg Season stats: 28.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.7 apg Anytime you open the two-week period with a 57-point performance, you ain't going anywhere. Period. Mr. James could've put up bagels the rest of the way and it wouldn't have mattered (We say that knowing it never would've happened). And here's the real scary part: LeBron is eclipsing career-highs in FG% (57.9), FT% (81.4), assists (8.7) and blocks (1.3). Like a fine wine, right?   2.  Marc Gasol (32), Memphis Grizzlies Previous rank: 3 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 19.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.3 apg Season stats: 20.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.4 apg It was looking like a ho-hum stretch for Gasol ... until he exploded for 35 and 13 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Like James, Gasol is setting career-highs in several categories: 9.3 rebounds (would tie his mark set in 2009-10), 1.9 blocks (would tie his mark in '11-12) and 1.6 3-pointers made per game. He's also just four double-doubles away from matching all of last season's total. 3.  LaMarcus Aldridge (32), San Antonio Spurs Previous rank: 2 Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 20.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg Season stats: 22.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.4 apg Despite slipping one spot, Aldridge had a relatively productive period, including a 32-point showing Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). But the big thing for Aldridge is rest. In three games with no rest, he averaged 14.3 points and 43.2 FG%. In two games with one day of rest, he totaled 23 points and 59.4 FG%. And in two games with two days of rest, Aldridge went for 26 points and 57.1 FG%. 4.  Carmelo Anthony (33), Oklahoma City Thunder Previous rank: 4 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 16.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 apg Season stats: 20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 apg Unlike James and Gasol, Anthony is going the other direction in a couple of categories. After shooting just 34.9 from the field over the last two weeks, Anthony is sitting at a career-low 41.8 for the season. His previous low was 42.6 in '03-04, his rookie season. Anthony is also averaging just 1.5 assists, which would be the lowest of his career by a wide margin (2.6 in '04-05 and '12-13). 5.  Taj Gibson (32), Minnesota Timberwolves Previous rank: 8 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 12.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 0.8 apg Season stats: 10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.3 apg Maybe the brisk Minnesota air has reinvigorated Gibson, who is putting up career numbers across the board. Playing a career-high 30.5 minutes, he's shooting 53.6 from the field, 83.3 from the line and hauling in 7.7 rebounds -- all career bests. Gibson also already has five double-doubles, putting him on pace to break his career-high of 18 double-doubles in '09-10. 6.  Paul Millsap (32), Denver Nuggets Previous rank: 5 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 16.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.7 apg Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.9 apg Millsap started to week in grand fashion, pouring in 27 points and nine rebounds on Nov. 3. Unfortunately, he followed that up the next night with six points and zero rebounds against the Warriors. He did, however, bounce back nicely with four straight games of 16 or more points including tying a career high with six blocks on Nov. 9 (Nov. 10, PHL time) against the Thunder. 7.  Trevor Ariza (32), Houston Rockets Previous rank: NA Last weeks' stats: 7 games, 14.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.1 apg Season stats: 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.6 apg The Rockets put up 142 points in a win over the Suns and Ariza contributed just 11 points? Huh. Despite that showing, it was still a solid two weeks for the small forward, who went for double-digit scoring in five of six games including two steals in four straight. He's also connected on at least three three's in six of his last eight games. 8.  Zach Randolph (36), Sacramento Kings Previous rank: 10 Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 15.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.3 apg Season stats: 13.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.8 apg Randolph, who has started every game this season for the Kings while averaging 25.4 minutes, is getting with the times and taking his game out beyond the arc. Before this season, the most three-pointers Z-Bo had made in a season was 25 back in '08-09 with the Clippers. This season, he already has eight (8-for-20), putting him on pace for 40-45.  9.  Courtney Lee (32), New York Knicks Previous rank: NA Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 13.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg Season stats: 11.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg Lee has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. Starting and averaging more than 33 minutes, he's scored in double figures in four consecutive games while connecting on at least two treys in three straight. In fact, Lee has made at least two three's in 7-of-14 games and is shooting a career-high 47.2 from deep. 10.  J.J. Redick (33), Philadelphia 76ers Previous rank: Just missed Last weeks' stats: 6 games, 17.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.0 apg Season stats: 14.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.1 apg Redick started the stretch nicely, snatching his first 30-point game of the season (31 points with 8-for-12 three's). He followed that up with five straight games of double-figure scoring, though two of those (10 on Tuesday, PHL time, 11 on Thursday, PHL time) left much to be desired. Much of Redick's success is tied to his long-range accuracy, which has been off in the early going (35 percent). Just missed the cut: J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, J.J. Barea, Pau Gasol, Marcin Gortat Will turn 32 this season: Dwight Howard (Dec. 8), Gerald Green (Jan. 26), Rajon Rondo (Feb. 22), Corey Brewer (March 5), Kyle Lowry (March 25), Marco Belinelli (March 25). The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2017

Blatche arriving soon, will play for Gilas vs Japanese

Andray Blatche, barring any injuries, will finally join Gilas Pilipinas in the next couple of days and will reinforce the Filipinos in their first two Fiba Asia Qualifying games against Japan and Chinese Taipei. The 6-foot-11 Blatche, Team PH's naturalized player, will play Xinjiang's final game for the year in the China Basketball Association slated Friday night. Blatche was set to arrive Nov. 12 but apparently, failed to get a leave from the Flying Tigers. Xinjiang's next game will be in January, and that poses another problem for the Gilas coaching staff as the Filipinos will play the Taiwanese and Australia in February. Reports reaching the Gilas camp say that Blatch...Keep on reading: Blatche arriving soon, will play for Gilas vs Japanese.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

Proud ako na girlfriend ako ni Bolick -- Aby Marano

Proud ako na girlfriend niya. A simple statement that sums up all the feelings of Aby Marano on bae Robert Bolick after he led the San Beda Red Lions to their second straight title, Thursday night in the 93rd NCAA seniors basketball competition. The former De La Salle University women’s volleyball standout wasn’t at the Big Dome when Bolick unleashed his ‘beast mode’ performance in the final minutes of Game 2 of the best-of-three championship series against Lyceum of the Philippines University. Marano had a game with F2 Logistics in the 2017 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix when the Red Lions captured their 21st title overall with a 92-82 win to finish off the Pirates. “Kinakabahan nga ako kanina kasi gusto ko talaga panoorin,” she said. “Nagtatanong-tanong ako kanina tapos may random guy na lumipat sa akin tas binalita na champion na nga daw.” “Parang nawala 'yung kaba ko, naging mas light 'yung feeling ko noong game,” added Marano, who herself had a great game against Generika-Ayala. Inspired by Bolick’s heroics, Tyang Aby finished with six markers to help the unbeaten Cargo Movers sweep the Lifesavers, 25-21, 25-17, 25-17.  Though she was not there to cheer for Bolick, Marano, who was able to watch the series opener last Friday, never doubted her long-time boyfriend’s capabilities and knew that he’ll be able to deliver for the SBC. “Last year, ganoon din 'yung nangyari sa amin - may game din ako tapos di ko napanood 'yung Finals niya,” she said. “Naging positive lang kami. Whether I'm there or not, tiwala na lang na maglalaro siya nang mabuti.” After the game, Bolick thanked Marano for pushing and inspiring him to achieve his goal of giving the Red Lions another crown.   Marano was just proud to see Bolick, who transferred from De La Salle University to SBC three years ago, reap the rewards of his hard work. “Ang sarap-sarap sa pakiramdam kasi nga nasubaybayan ko 'yung struggles niya dati,” said Marano. “Every day na magkasama kami, kita mong nandoon 'yung depression. “ “Ngayon, makikita mo na bumalik talaga lahat ng confidence niya and kung sino talaga siya as a basketball player,” added Marano. “Napakasarap sa feeling.” And how would she describe her feeling as a girlfriend of an NCAA champion?  Marano had a straightforward answer. “Masasabi ko lang na sobrang proud ako na girlfriend ako ni Bolick kasi nakikita ko talaga 'yung sarili ko sa kanya,” she said. BMDC (beast mode don’t care) naman din talaga siya magalaro.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

Finals MVP Tankoua isn’t even at 100 percent yet

Without a doubt, it was Robert Bolick who took charge when it mattered most for San Beda College in the two-game Finals of the NCAA 93 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Also without a doubt, however, was that Donald Tankoua imposed his will all throughout both games. And so, with averages of 22 points, 18.5 rebounds, and one steal, the Cameroonian powerhouse was the runaway Most Valuable Player in the Finals. Of course, he was going to give his all after he missed out on the Finals a year ago. Last season, the Red Lions’ big man had for himself a dominant first round before tearing the ACL in his right knee. He was then forced to watch from the sidelines as his team made their way all the way to a championship. Now, Tankoua played a big part in back-to-back championships. “I really wanted to win. I did all my best because I missed this last year,” he told reporters post-game. As it turns out, however, the 23-year-old did all that while still making his way back to full health. Talking about his right knee, he shared, “It’s not yet fully healed. I still feel pain sometimes.” He then continued, “Actually, I’m still doing therapy.” Still, Tankoua said he was doing anything and everything to help San Beda. “I just went there and played my heart out to win the game. I just played, that’s all,” he said. And for that, he got nothing but good words from his teammates. “No one deserves (Finals) MVP, but him. Sinasabi ko last year pa, he’s one of the best imports here in college,” Bolick said. He then continued, “Kahit galing siyang injury, he fought with his all.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2017

NOTHING EASY: Potts makes his NCAA exit on top

After winning back-to-back NCAA championships, Davon Potts will have some time to celebrate before he makes the transition to the PBA. Potts, drafted by the Alaska Aces a couple of weeks ago, says that he doesn't have to report to his new team right away especially after him and the rest of the San Beda Red Lions completed a Finals sweep of the Lyceum Pirates Thursday for the NCAA Season 93 title. "I just texted coach Alex Compton right now, it's funny. He said report on Monday," Potts said after he officially wrapped his San Beda career with yet another ring. After bursting to the scene last season as the Red Lions' "Mr. Fourth Quarter", Potts had a relatively pedestrian second season with San Beda. It showed because his draft stock dropped so hard the Aces landed him late in the second round, a steal according to a lot of people. Still, despite an okay regular season, Potts saved his best for last in the Finals, helping the Red Lions take down the 18-0 Pirates. He averaged a solid 15 points a game in the Finals, a reliable  third option behind the clutch Robert Bolick and Finals MVP Donald Tankoua. "I have mixed feelings. I mean, it was really hard for me this year," he said. "It's a combination of character and attitude. I keep a lot of things at the back of my mind with my history with San Beda, I owe it to them for bringing me here. Just making sure that we live the legacy and continue the championship [tradition]. Make sure we have that winning culture here," Potts added. Winning a championship, Potts says that staying at San Beda was worth it. Even if he had some struggles along the way. "This is a testament to show that no matter what you go through, no matter how much you have to go through, you can always bounce back," he said "That is a testament to all the people that look up to me and make sure that nothing is easy, you have to earn it," Potts added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2017

For Robert Bolick, championship starts and ends with mom

Heading into Game 2 of the Finals, with San Beda College needing one more win for back-to-back championships, Robert Bolick did not get a good night’s sleep. “Hindi ako makatulog kagabi,” he told reporters as the Red Lions still found themselves down 1-2 in the season series against Lyceum of the Philippines University. Good thing then that the 23-year-old had his lifelong comfort zone there with him. “Dasal lang ako nang dasal. Katabi ko nanay ko, dasal lang kami nang dasal,” he said. Apparently, the prayers worked as he scored seven points in the last five minutes to lead the defending champions in blanking the Pirates in the championship round. In the end, he had 18 points, six assists, and five rebounds and was one of the major reasons in the Mendiola-based squad’s 10th title in the last 12 years – and 21st overall. “Kapag nanonood si mom, talagang ibibigay mo ang best mo,” he said afterward. Not long after, Bolick was celebrating with the very same person who gave birth to him. “I just want to thank my mom. Simula sa pagiging bench player ko, she buys me shoes kahit wala kaming pera, she buys me gatas para mainom ko,” he shared, in front of the crowd at the Araneta Coliseum and for everybody watching. Through those words, the Ormoc, Leyte native was clutching his mom at his side. To top it all off, he had one more message for Zeny Bolick. “I love her to death,” he expressed. And so, Robert Bolick’s championship-winning Thursday essentially began with his mom by his side. And soon enough, Robert Bolick’s championship-winning Thursday essentially ended with his mom by his side. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 16th, 2017

The Pistons are 10-3, and might be the surprise of the NBA

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The Detroit Pistons are heading on the road for a few days, so maybe someone will see them play. They’ve certainly been worth watching. Detroit’s 10-3 start, good for No. 2 in the Eastern Conference standings, is one of the biggest good surprises in the NBA through the season’s first month. The Pistons already have a road win at Golden State, swept a five-game homestand — possibly to the delight of all those unoccupied red seats at Little Caesars Arena, more on that in a moment — and are off to their best start in 12 years. “I know that we’re playing as a team right now,” Detroit’s Luke Kennard said. “We’re really locked in. We’re really playing together and we play hard. When you have a team that does that together, you win.” Now comes the test. Starting Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), the Pistons play five of their next six games on the road — visiting Milwaukee, Indiana and Minnesota before returning home to face Cleveland, then heading right back out for a trip to Oklahoma City and Boston. After topping Miami to finish off a 5-0 homestand Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy made no effort to hide how pleased he is right now. “We did a great job here, and now you just move on to the next challenge,” Van Gundy said. “Now 9-of-11 on the road, the next three games on the road against teams you beat at home so you know they want back at you. The challenges just keep mounting, but you put wins in the bank.” Maybe at some point, there will be fans in the seats. The brand-new Detroit arena has a listed capacity for basketball at 20,491, which was the announced crowd for opening night. In seven games since, the Pistons have announced crowds between 13,709 and 17,683 — and those numbers may be generous, given how empty the building looks on television. Officially, Detroit sold 76 percent of its tickets in those seven games. ___ GIANNIS WATCH Technically, no foreign player has ever won an NBA scoring title. Dominique Wilkins has one and he was born in Paris, but only because his father was in the U.S. Air Force. Giannis Antetokounmpo may change that in a few months. And if not this season, then probably soon enough. The Milwaukee star who hails from Greece went into this week averaging just over 31 points per game and leading the league in that department. He was the Most Improved Player last season and don’t be surprised if he gets more votes for that trophy this season — along with MVP ballots as well. “He plays now to destroy you,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters last week before Antetokounmpo scored 28 in Milwaukee’s road win over San Antonio. “In the beginning he was pretty darn good and he would do this and he would do that. But now he knows he can do it to you every time. He’s for real.” Antetokounmpo turns 23 on Dec. 6. The only other players in the last 50 years with 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists before celebrating their 23rd birthdays — Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady, and future Hall of Famer LeBron James. ___ ANNIVERSARIES A couple of significant milestone dates are nearing. Sunday (Monday, PHL time) marks the 13th anniversary since the so-called “Malice at The Palace,” the infamous brawl involving Indiana and Detroit after Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest) went into the stands after a fan hit him with a drink. The aftermath included nine players being suspended, and security in NBA arenas has been different ever since. And Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) is the 16th anniversary of the first call-up from what is now called the NBA G League — the Denver Nuggets brought eventual NBA champion Chris Andersen up from the Fayetteville Patriots, a move that paved the way for hundreds of players to truly view the development league as a springboard to the NBA. ___ THE WEEK AHEAD Some games to keep an eye on over the coming days: — Philadelphia at L.A. Lakers, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time): Ben Simmons and Lonzo Ball, a matchup of future NBA assist leaders. — Golden State at Boston, Thursday (Friday, PHL time): An NBA Finals preview? The road team has won five straight in this series. — Oklahoma City at San Antonio, Friday (Saturday, PHL time): Russell Westbrook has triple-doubles in his last two games vs. the Spurs. — Houston at Memphis, Saturday (Sunday, PHL time): The Rockets’ wide-open offense goes up against the Grizzlies’ airtight defense. — Washington at Toronto, Sunday: John Wall vs. Kyle Lowry might get overlooked on an NFL Sunday, but shouldn’t. ___ STAT LINE OF THE WEEK Paul George, Oklahoma City: His 37-point, eight-rebound, five-assist game against Dallas on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) wasn’t even his best game of the week (he had 42, 9 and 7 two nights earlier against the Clippers). But the Sunday (Monday, PHL time) game gets the nod since it came on Russell Westbrook’s birthday and when asked what he got his teammate, George said “I got him 37.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

Jedinak stars as Australia qualifies for 2018 World Cup

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer SYDNEY (AP) — Mile Jedinak didn't miss when it counted, propelling Australia into next year's World Cup with three goals in Wednesday's 3-1 intercontinental playoff victory over Honduras. The Australia captain was in doubt for the series with a groin injury that had forced him to miss end of the Asian qualifying campaign, when his team narrowly missed out on direct entry to the tournament in Russia. But Jedinak played a full game in the 0-0 draw in San Pedro Sula last Friday and, aided by the state-of-the-art rehabilitation program on Australia's charter flight home, took the free kick that broke the scoring drought in the 54th minute at Sydney's Olympic stadium. His free kick curled to the left of the wall and deflected sharply in off defender Henry Figueroa, bringing the parochial 77,060-strong crowd at Sydney's Olympic stadium to life. He converted from the spot in the 72nd after referee Nestor Pitana penalized Bryan Acosta for a hand ball and again calmly slotted home another penalty after Robbie Kruse was dragged down in the area in the 85th to ensure Australia qualified for its fourth consecutive World Cup. "I'll take them all," Jedinak said. "It wouldn't have mattered who scored. I'm happy to chip in." Honduras scored a consolation goal deep in injury time in a scramble in front of goal with Alberth Elis and Maynor Figueroa both swiping at the ball from close range. The result meant Asia got a full quota of five teams into the World Cup in Russia, with 31 of the 32 places decided. Peru was hosting New Zealand for the last spot later Wednesday. Under-fire coach Ange Postecoglou said he was delighted for his team, and declined to comment on his future with the Socceroos amid speculation that he may not stay on for the World Cup. "They got what they deserved — it wasn't by luck or by chance," Postecoglou said. "They believed in something that we started, and right to the end they displayed the kind of resilience and belief that has made me proud all the way along. They did it their way, and got great rewards for it." While the Australians invested heavily in the charter flight to get home Sunday after the first leg, the Honduras squad took a commercial flight and arrived a day later. But with veteran skipper Maynor Figueroa returning, and with Elis adding pace on the flank, Honduras lifted its tempo in the first half and frustrated the Australian attack. Honduras coach Jorge Luis Pinto said the Australians clearly worked to neutralize Elis out wide, and the momentum shift was too great after the opening goal. "Australia were very strong and aggressive and put pressure on us. In the first half the game was more balanced — in the second half, the (first) goal took a toll," Pinto said. "The second goal, there was contact with the player's hand, but it wasn't intentional." Honduras earned a playoff spot with a 3-2 win over Mexico on a hectic last day of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean, securing fourth spot and ensuring the U.S. missed out. Australia advanced after beating Syria for fifth place in Asian qualifying, with veteran Tim Cahill scoring twice in Sydney, and setting up the intercontinental playoff. Cahill was involved when Australia edged Uruguay on penalties in a playoff in 2005 to qualify for the following year's World Cup in Germany. He was also there when the Australians qualified directly from Asia for 2010 and 2014. There is a good chance he'll be in Russia, too, even after he has turned 38. The final word went to the jubilant Jedinak, a veteran midfielder who plays for Aston Villa in England. "We got the job done and that's all that matters — it's going to be a big 2018," he said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

Braves hire former Dodgers, Blue Jays exec Anthopoulos as GM

By Charles Odum, Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — The remake of the Atlanta Braves' management was completed Monday when Alex Anthopoulos was named general manager and John Hart was removed as team president. Anthopoulos, a former Dodgers and Blue Jays executive, will have autonomy of baseball operations, giving him more power than any Braves general manager since John Schuerholz served from 1990 to 2007. Anthopoulos also was given the title of executive vice president, while Hart will assume a senior adviser role, team chairman Terry McGuirk announced at a news conference that Hart did not attend. Anthopoulos was to fly to Orlando on Monday night to represent the Braves at baseball's general managers' meetings. He spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers' vice president of baseball operations after six years as Toronto's general manager. Anthopoulos succeeds John Coppolella, who was forced to resign as general manager on Oct. 2 after an investigation by Major League Baseball disclosed rule violations committed by the Braves in the international player market. "Alex is a man of integrity and he will operate in a way that will make all of our Braves fans proud," McGuirk said. McGuirk apologized to fans "on behalf of the entire Braves family" for the scandal. "The past few months have been the toughest in the storied history of the Atlanta Braves franchise," he said. "Frankly, the Atlanta Braves have not lived up to our standard that the fans expect of us and that we expect of ourselves." McGuirk said he was told by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday "the investigation has been completed for some time." He said he expects to learn within two weeks what fine or other penalties the Braves will receive. When asked who made the decision for Hart to immediately hand over control of baseball operations, McGuirk said, "It just became obvious this was the right thing to do at this time, and he and I made that decision together." Hart temporarily assumed general manager duties while leading the search for Coppolella's replacement. Gordon Blakeley, the team's international scouting chief, also resigned last month following the disclosure of international scouting violations. Anthopoulos said the investigation had no impact on his interest in the Braves. "For me more than anything else, who are you going to work for and who are you going to work with?" Anthopoulos said. "Regardless of what the fallout was going to be or what the sanctions may be, that's not going to change who I'm going to go to war with day in and day out." Anthopoulos said the Braves, who opened SunTrust Park in 2017 and whose minor league organization was named the best in the game by Baseball America, are "one of the premier jobs in all of sports." "The young talent here is as good as you're going to get in the game, and even here at the big league level, you have some exciting players as well," he said. "The opportunity here, the upside, is through the roof." Braves manager Brian Snitker and former manager and current senior adviser Bobby Cox attended the news conference. Cox was part of the Braves management team that met with Anthopoulos at SunTrust Park during a break between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series. Cox said Anthopoulos was "a home run" in the interview. "He's smart as heck and a workaholic," Cox said. "I've heard that from everyone." Anthopoulos began his baseball career with the Montreal Expos as a publicity intern before moving to scouting for three years. He joined Toronto after the 2003 season as a scouting coordinator and earned a promotion to VP of baseball operations and assistant GM in 2006 before taking over as GM......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2017

Judge, Bellinger unanimous picks as Rookies of the Year

By Noah Trister, Associated Press The only major question was whether it would be unanimous — and it was. Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are baseball's Rookies of the Year, after their record-setting home run binges left no need for any dissenting opinions. Judge led the American League with 52 homers, the most ever by a rookie. Bellinger hit 39 and had to settle for the National League's rookie record. Judge and Bellinger received every first-place vote available from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Judge became the first New York Yankees player to receive this award since Derek Jeter in 1996. Bellinger gave the Dodgers a record 18th Rookie of the Year winner. "Watching him from the West Coast, what he did on the East Coast, was awesome," Bellinger said. "I was a big fan of his, and met him during the All-Star game, and he's a humble dude. I think we're both reflecting, now that the season's over, on the kind of seasons that we've had." This was the first time both Rookie of the Year awards were unanimous since 1997, when Nomar Garciaparra of Boston and Scott Rolen of Philadelphia won. This season's votes were announced Monday night. Boston outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished second in the AL, followed by Baltimore slugger Trey Mancini. St. Louis infielder Paul DeJong was the NL runner-up, with Pittsburgh first baseman Josh Bell finishing third. Judge is also an MVP finalist. "Obviously it was an amazing, remarkable year that no one would have predicted," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "When you drop 52 — I think he really should have had 53, one that instant replay didn't protect. ... It should be a higher number. It was just an incredible year." Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and Fred Lynn in 1975 are the only players to win the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in the same year. The Yankees entered this season with marginal expectations by their standards, but the prodigious power of Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez transformed them almost overnight into an exciting young team with tremendous potential. They made the postseason as a wild card. "It's exciting times right now to be wearing pinstripes," Judge said. "To come up through the minor leagues with a lot of these guys, watch them develop, and now to see what they're doing at the major league level is really impressive." Judge's 495-foot shot on June 11 was the longest home run in the major leagues this season, according to Statcast . Although he struck out 208 times in the regular season and 27 more in the postseason, the 25-year-old outfielder is one of a handful of reasons why the Yankees suddenly seem to have one of the brightest futures of any team in baseball. New York came within a victory of the World Series this year, losing to Houston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. Bellinger's team made it to that final step, but Los Angeles fell to the Astros in a seven-game World Series. Bellinger is the second straight Dodgers player to win Rookie of the Year. Shortstop Corey Seager did it last year. "The future is bright in L.A.," Bellinger said. "I know that I'm excited, as well as the other teammates. Obviously, we didn't have the end goal this year, but we're going to try and take it to the next level next year." Bellinger made his big league debut in late April. By the time he turned 22 on July 13, he had 25 home runs. The 6-foot-4 first baseman is an appropriate counterpart to the powerful Judge. They even hit from opposite sides of the plate: Judge is a righty and Bellinger swings left-handed. "He's not just a guy that went up there and hit home runs," Judge said. "He was a guy that played high-caliber first base for them. He could go out there and roam center field, left field, right field, wherever they needed him. To have that type of versatility and produce the numbers he did is something that you don't find too often." ___ AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in Orlando, Florida, contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 14th, 2017