MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers bounced back big from their New Year’s Eve collapse with a gritty comeback win over the cellar-dwelling Illawarra Hawks, 103-95, in the National Basketball League in Australia on Friday, January 6.
After trailing by 8 points, 81-89, with four minutes remaining, the 36ers turned things around just in time and unloaded a massive 17-0 run to lead by its biggest at 9 points, 98-89, with just 34 ticks left on the clock.
Illawarra’s Deng Deng gave his side some signs of life as he cut Adelaide’s lead back to 5, 95-100, with 10 seconds to play, but 36ers forward Anthony Drmic easily sealed the deal with three straight points on the other end.
It was a total team effort for the 36ers as five players ended up scoring in double figures, with Daniel Johnson leading the way with 18 points, to go along with 8 rebounds.
Antonius Cleveland, Drmic, and former Golden State Warriors guard Ian Clark all had 16 points apiece, while Robert Franks chipped in 13.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino center Sotto, meanwhile, once again made the most of his limited 10-minute playing time as a starter as he collected 7 points on 3-of-6 shooting and 6 rebounds.
With Sotto part of Adelaide’s starting five for the sixth straight outing, the team has now won five of its last six games and improved its record to 11-9.
Tyler Harvey topscored for the Hawks in the loss with a game-high 22 points, while Deng contributed 19 markers.
Adelaide will look to start a new winning streak when it faces the second-seeded Sydney Breakers on Sunday, January 8 at 11 am, Manila time.
Adelaide 103 – Johnson 18, Cleveland 16, Drmic 16, Clark 16, Franks 13, Sotto 7, Harris 6, Dech 6, Mccarron 5, Galloway 0.
Illawarra 95 – Harvey 22, Deng 19, Froling 14, Mathiang 12, Frazier II 11, Hickey 6, Swaka Lo Buluk 5, Coenraad 3, Dent 2, Grida 1, Mudronja 0, Gak 0.
Quarters: 23-19, 50-47, 75-75, 103-95.