National Basketball League

Kai Sotto sidelined anew as Adelaide thwarts Perth in NBL

Delfin Dioquino
Kai Sotto sidelined anew as Adelaide thwarts Perth in NBL

SIT OUT. Kai Sotto has played just one game in the NBL season.

Adelaide 36ers Instagram page

The Adelaide 36ers avenge their season-opening loss to the Perth Wildcats as they return to NBL action

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto rode the bench anew as the Adelaide 36ers pulled off an 87-74 stunner over erstwhile top-ranked Perth Wildcats in the Australia National Basketball League at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Tuesday, January 18.

Playing for the first time in exactly a month, the 36ers banked on a fiery first-half performance from big man Daniel Johnson to build a sizable lead before withstanding a gritty comeback from the Wildcats en route to their third win of the season.

Johnson unloaded 16 of his 21 points – 6 coming from beyond the arc – in the first two quarters as Adelaide enjoyed a 21-point lead at halftime, 55-34.

But Perth did not crumble and trimmed its deficit to as low as 8 points, 73-81, off two Michael Frazier foul shots with less than four minutes remaining.

The 36ers, though, immediately restored order courtesy of Cameron Bairstow, who drained back-to-back buckets in the ensuing possessions as they avenged their season-opening 73-85 loss to the Wildcats in December.

Bairstow took over late with 10 fourth-quarter points and finished with 19 overall on top of 10 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

Mitch McCarron also starred in the win with a near-triple-double of 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Sunday Dech added another 10 points.

Sotto, acquired by Adelaide last year, has played just one game this season.

The 36ers drew level with the Brisbane Bullets at 3-3, while the Wildcats (5-2) dropped to second place, with Melbourne United (6-2) taking over the top spot in the standings.

Victor Law paced Perth with 16 points and 14 rebounds. –

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.