MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers absorbed their second straight loss in the Australia National Basketball League (NBL) after falling to the Illawarra Hawks, 100-89, on Monday, January 24.
But Sotto once again made the most of his playing time as he reset his career-high with 12 points on a perfect 8-of-8 clip from the free throw line, surpassing his previous mark of 6 points, which he set in the 36ers’ 19-point loss to the Melbourne United just two days ago.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino wunderkind Sotto also grabbed 5 rebounds for the 36ers in the losing effort, which saw Adelaide move down to 3-5 in the standings.
Trailing by only 5 points, 45-50, at halftime, Adelaide failed to keep in step with Illawarra in the third quarter as the Hawks shifted into high gear and unleashed a massive 31-14 run for a comfortable 81-59 lead going into the fourth period.
In the final frame, the 36ers managed to cut the lead back to 15, 86-71, before the red-hot Hawks went on another furious 8-0 rally to extend their advantage to its biggest at 23 points, 94-71, ultimately sealing the deal with just five minutes left to play.
Harry Froling led the way for the Hawks with 27 points on an impressive 8-of-10 shooting from three-point land, while Tyler Harvey and Sam Froling added 19 and 18 points, respectively.
On the other side, Sunday Dech topscored for the 36ers with 20 points, while Todd Withers contributed 15 markers.
Sotto and the 36ers will look to return to the win column when they go up against the Tasmania JackJumpers on Friday, January 28, at 4:30 pm (Manila time).
Illawarra 100 – H. Froling 27, Harvey 19, S. Froling 18, Cleveland 14, Coenraad 9, Reath 6, Rathan-Mayes 5, Gak 2, Jessup 0, White 0, Naar 0, Oglivy 0, Dent 0.
Adelaide 89 – Dech 20, Withers 15, Sotto 12, Johnson 10, Mccarron 8, Bairstow 8, Hannahs 5, King 5, Harris 4, Malou 2, Dufelmeier 0, Gattorna 0.
Quarters: 23-19, 50-45, 81-59, 100-89.