MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto once again made the most of his limited touches and playing time.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino’s solid contributions, however, were not enough to prevent the Adelaide 36ers from falling to the Perth Wildcats, 94-89, in the National Basketball League in Australia on Saturday, November 5.
Sotto sank all three of his shots from the field and converted his two free throw attempts to finish with 8 points on top of 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
The 36ers threatened to pull away after Robert Franks hit a pull-up jumper to extend Adelaide’s lead to 5 points, 74-69, with a little over 6 minutes left in the ball game.
However, that proved to be their last taste of the lead.
Back-to-back threes by Perth reinforcement and NBA veteran Bryce Cotton sparked a 14-0 run by the Wildcats and the shellshocked 36ers all of a sudden found themselves staring at a 74-83 deficit which they never recovered from.
Ultimately, Adelaide coach CJ Bruton’s inability to spread the ball and to adjust the team’s defense to limit the Wildcats’ outside shooting proved to be the 36ers downfall.
Imports Franks, Antonious Cleveland, and Craig Randall attempted 47 times from the field while the rest of the 36ers shot just 25 times.
Franks led Adelaide with 24 points and 9 boards while Cleveland put up 22 points. Randall also had 13 points on a dismal 5-of-17 shooting
Adelaide’s porous defense also allowed Perth to make 15 three-pointers.
The Wildcats’ 6-foot-9 American forward Brady Manek fired 6 triples – the same number converted by the entire Adelaide squad – to lead Perth with 25 points.
Sotto played 12 minutes and 49 seconds before the Filipino giant was taken out with 1:14 left in the third quarter and was not fielded back the rest of the game.
After absorbing its fourth loss in seven games, Adelaide fell to eighth place among 10 teams, while Perth moved to seventh with a 4-5 record.
The 36ers had hoped to start a streak after returning to the win column with a rout of the Illawarra Hawks, 96-80, last Thursday.
Perth 94 – Manek 25, Webster 18, Cotton 15, Thomas 12, Wagstaff 9, Blanchfield 6, Zonic 2, Majok 2, Norton 1, Shervill 0
Adelaide 89 – Franks 24, Cleveland 22, Randall II 13, Sotto 8, Drmic 7, Dech 6, Johnson 4, Mccarron 3, Harris 2, Acouth 0, Marshall 0, Galloway 0, Ipassou 0
Quarters: 24-15, 46-46, 62-63, 94-89.