Kai Sotto boosts Adelaide 36ers’ bounce back win in NBL
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto provided quality minutes anew as a starter to help the Adelaide 36ers bounce back with a 103-95 win over the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s National Basketball League on Friday at Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Following an 86-83 loss to Cairns Taipans that ended the 36ers four-game win streak last week, the 7-foot-3 center made the most of his sixth consecutive game as a starter and posted seven points and six rebounds in 11 minutes and 32 seconds of playing time.
The 36ers fought their way back from an 89-81 deficit down the stretch by unleashing a blistering 18-0 run capped by Antonius Cleveland’s split free throws to pull away with a 98-89 spread and put away the match with 34 seconds remaining.
Daniel Johnson showed the way for Adelaide with 18 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while Ian Clark was instrumental in their fourth-quarter run, shooting four three-pointers to finish with 16 points.
Cleveland and Anthony Drmic also scored 16 points each and both combined for 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Robert Franks added 13 markers, three dimes, and two boards in the win.
Adelaide improved to an 11-9 record tied with the Tasmania JackJumpers in the fourth seed after winning five of its last six games.
Sotto and the 36ers battle the second seed New Zealand Breakers (12-6) on Sunday.
The Hawks continued to reel at the bottom of the standings with a 2-18 card despite the 22-point effort of Tyler Harvey.
Deng Deng also powered the Illawarra with 19 points and seven rebounds.