MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers picked up their second straight win in the National Basketball League in Australia after completing a huge come-from-behind escape against the Cairns Taipans, 78-75, on Friday, December 2 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
With the score knotted at 75 apiece with just two seconds remaining, Adelaide’s Robert Franks, who struggled mightily on offense all-game long, delivered when it counted the most as he hit three pressure-packed free throws to give the 36ers the victory.
Despite trailing by 11 points, 60-71, midway through the final frame, Adelaide refused to give up, unloading a sizzling 15-2 blast, capped by an Antonius Cleveland layup with just 55 seconds remaining, to overtake Cairns and give the 36ers just their second lead of the ball game since a 2-0 start.
Cleveland led the charge for the 36ers with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Franks finished with 15 points on 3-of-18 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
On the other hand, the 7-foot-3 Filipino big man Sotto, who is coming off a 6-point, 5-rebound outing in Adelaide’s previous win, missed his one and only attempt from the field and failed to record any numbers in 7 minutes and 11 seconds of action off the bench.
For the Taipans, Tahjere Mccall dropped a game-high 24 points, while Keanu Pinder added 12 markers and 8 boards in the losing effort.
Adelaide – which climbed up to the No. 4 spot with a 6-5 slate – aims to extend its winning streak to three games when it takes on the Sydney Kings on Sunday, December 4 at 11 am, Manila time.
Adelaide 78 – Cleveland 23, Franks 15, Johnson 10, Harris 8, Dech 8, Mccarron 7, Marshall 5, Galloway 2, Sotto 0.
Cairns 75 – Mccall 24, Pinder 12, Waardenburg 8, Hogg 7, Kuol 7, Scott 5, Antonio 5, Deng 4, Ayre 3.
Quarters: 27-12, 47-32, 63-55, 78-75.