MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers captured their second straight win in the National Basketball League in Australia after holding off the defending champion Sydney Kings in the clutch, 92-88, on Friday, October 21 at the Qudos Bank Arena.
Adelaide rode on a well-balanced attack as all five starters scored in double figures, with Craig Randall II exploding for a game-high 24 points, to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino big man Sotto, meanwhile, hardly made an impact for the 36ers anew as he only saw 3 minutes and 12 seconds of action and tallied just 1 block in the down-to-the-wire victory.
With the win, Adelaide improved to 2-1 in the standings early in the season, while the Kings slipped to 4-2.
Coming off a dominant 90-80 win over the Illawarra Hawks last Saturday, the 36ers came out with guns blazing and opened up the ball game on a fiery 11-2 blast, capped by a Robert Franks three-pointer exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the first quarter.
Still in control of the Kings at halftime, 50-42, the 36ers, who even led by as many as 10 points in the second period, started off slow in the third canto as Sydney unleashed a 10-0 run right off the bat to overtake Adelaide for its first taste of the lead, 52-50, with 8:22 to play in the frame.
It was a back-and-forth shootout between Adelaide and Sydney the rest of the second half, and with the 36ers leading by only a single point, 85-84, with under 2 minutes left to play, Randall II converted on a clutch triple to create some separation over the Kings and push their lead to a two-possession affair, 88-84.
Sydney had the chance to knot the score at 89 apiece in the final 25 seconds, but Derrick Walton Jr. and Justin Simon missed on their respective three-point attempts as Mitch Mccarron sealed the win for Adelaide with three straight free throws.
Daniel Johnson added 17 points and 8 rebounds for the 36ers, while Mccarron and Antonius Cleveland scored 15 markers apiece.
On the other side, Walton Jr. paced the Kings in the loss with 23 points.
Sotto and the 36ers will look to make it three in a row when they face the New Zealand Breakers on Friday, October 28 at 4:30 pm, Manila time.
Adelaide 92 – Randall II 24, Johnson 17, Mccarron 15, Cleveland 15, Franks 13, Dech 6, Harris 2, Sotto 0, Drmic 0.
Sydney 88 – Walton Jr. 23, Vasiljevic 15, Simon 12, Noi 12, Cooks 9, Soares 6, Hunter 3, Bruce 3, Bayles 3, Glover 2.
Quarters: 25-20, 50-42, 68-71, 92-88.