National Basketball League

36ers’ playoff hopes dented after loss to United even as Kai Sotto scores in twin digits

Delfin Dioquino
36ers’ playoff hopes dented after loss to United even as Kai Sotto scores in twin digits

SLUMP. Kai Sotto sees his double-digit performance go down the drain in another 36ers loss.

ADELAIDE 36ERS

Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers fail to arrest their skid as they crash to their fifth straight loss in the National Basketball League

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and Adelaide 36ers saw their playoff bid in the National Basketball League take a major blow following a 94-87 home loss to the Melbourne United on Saturday, January 21.

Sotto scored in double figures for the fifth time this season after putting up 15 points on top of 7 rebounds and 1 block, but the 36ers failed to arrest their skid as they crashed to their fifth straight defeat to remain at eighth place.

Toting an 11-14 record, Adelaide stares at the possibility of an early vacation with only three games left in the regular season.

Meanwhile, the United solidified their hold of the sixth and final playoff spot by improving to 14-12.

Sotto scored 7 points in the first half as the 36ers grabbed a 40-39 halftime lead, but Adelaide fell apart in the third quarter, where it got outscored 24-31 to allow Melbourne to seize a 70-64 advantage.

The United never trailed again and even led by as many as 11 points, 87-76, off back-to-back three-pointers from Rayjon Tucker and Xavier Rathan-Mayes with 4:40 minutes remaining.

Sotto sat out the final four minutes.

Robert Franks did it all for Adelaide with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks, while Sunday Dech came off the bench and provided 14 points.

The trio of Tucker, Rathan-Mayes, and Chris Goulding proved too hot to handle for the 36ers as they all breached the 20-point mark, combining for 73 points.

Goulding fired 28 points on a 5-of-10 clip from three-point range, Tucker posted 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Rathan-Mayes added 20 points.

Adelaide looks to stay in playoff contention as it tries to snap its losing streak against second seed Cairns Taipans in a road game on January 30. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.