MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers escaped a gritty challenge by the Brisbane Bullets down the stretch to extend their winning streak to four games with an 87-84 victory in the National Basketball League in Australia on Thursday, December 29.
Starting for the fourth straight outing, Sotto quickly made his presence felt on the offensive end for the 36ers as he delivered two early baskets in the first three minutes of the ball game.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino big man, however, failed to put up any field goal the rest of the way as he finished with just 5 points on 2-of-4 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 1 block in a little less than 12 minutes of play.
Robert Franks led Adelaide with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Antonius Cleveland added 13 markers, 9 boards, 5 dimes, and 4 steals.
Anthony Drmic, meanwhile, recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds as the streaking 36ers climbed up to the fifth spot with a 10-8 slate – tied with the Tasmania Jack Jumpers.
With Adelaide already ahead comfortably by 7 points, 84-77, with 28 seconds to go, Brisbane managed to pull within a single possession, 82-85, thanks to a three-pointer by Andrew White III with 8 seconds remaining.
The Bullets then inched closer to just a single point, 84-85, off two charities by Tanner Krebs with just 3 seconds left after Cleveland committed a careless turnover off an inbound pass.
Luckily for Adelaide, Robert Franks sealed the deal in the next play with a pair of free throws as Brisbane’s Tyler Johnson missed on a potential game-tying trey with only 2 ticks left on the clock.
Nathan Sobey scored a game-high 24 points for Brisbane, while Krebs contributed 13.
White and Johnson chipped in 12 points apiece, while former NBA big man Aaron Baynes collected a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Sotto and the 36ers will look to end the year on a high note and push their winning run further to five games when they face Cairns Taipans on Saturday, December 31 at 5 pm.
Adelaide 87 – Franks 18, Cleveland 13, Drmic 11, Clark 9, Johnson 9, Dech 8, Galloway 6, Sotto 5, Harris 5, Marshall 3.
Brisbane 84 – Sobey 24, Krebs 13, White III 12, Johnson 12, Baynes 10, Cadee 5, Gak 4, Mitchell 2, Froling 2, Bach 0.
Quarters: 29-27, 54-51, 62-66. 87-84.