MANILA, Philippines – The Adelaide 36ers had a debut game to forget in the new Australia National Basketball League (NBL) season as the Perth Wildcats mounted an 85-73 home blowout on Friday, December 3.
Big man Daniel Johnson led the losing cause with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 7 rebounds as fellow center Kai Sotto was ruled out with knee soreness.
As he sat out, the 7-foot-3 Filipino prospect took the time to give an update on his health condition on social media, where he shared a picture of his swollen knee in his Instagram stories.
“I’ll be back,” he wrote, noting that his knee is “way better now.”
Without Sotto manning the defense, the Wildcats had their way from all areas of the floor on offense, and turned a late 57-59 third quarter deficit to a 70-63 lead entering the fourth after a 13-4 run.
It was all Perth from that point onwards as they peaked with a 13-point lead, 78-65, off a Majok Majok layup with 8:26 left in regulation.
Wildcats forward Vic Law ran roughshod all over the Adelaide defense, and finished with 37 points on 16-of-29 shooting, while guard Bryce Cotton had an all-around line of 16 markers, 5 boards, and 4 assists.
Backstopping Johnson on the losing end was former NBA player Cameron Bairstow, who dropped 15 points, and 6 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.
For now, Sotto’s official pro basketball debut will have to wait at least until Sunday, December 5, as the 36ers take on the Illawarra Hawks in their first home game of the regular season.
Perth 85 – Law 37, Cotton 16, Travers 15, Majok 9, White 3, Wagstaff 3, Zunic 2, Hodgson 0, Purchase 0.
Adelaide 73 – Johnson 22, Bairstow 15, Hannahs 10, Humphries 8, Withers 7, Mccaron 7, King 4, Dufelmeier 0, Marshall 0.
Quarters: 22-19, 47-43, 70-63, 85-73.