US basketball

Kai Sotto drops 11 as hot-shooting 36ers torch Suns in NBA preseason

Martin Mendoza

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Kai Sotto drops 11 as hot-shooting 36ers torch Suns in NBA preseason

OUT. The 36ers will miss the presence of Kai Sotto in their clash against the Breakers.

Adelaide 36ers

After going unselected in the NBA Draft, Filipino big man Kai Sotto shows off his wares in the Adelaide 36ers' preseason win over the Phoenix Suns

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers made it rain from beyond the arc as they stunned the Phoenix Suns in the first of their two NBA preseason games, 134-124, at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on Sunday, October 2 (Monday, October 3, Manila time). 

Playing in an NBA environment for the first time, Sotto – who went unselected in the 2022 NBA Draft – dropped 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the field to go with 2 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 assist in close to 18 minutes of playing time.

The 7-foot-3 Filipino big man poured in 7 of his 11 markers in the third quarter, including an easy two-handed jam off a beautiful no-look feed by Mitch McCarron and a booming triple over Suns guard Landry Shamet.

Sotto also went 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, knocking down his first two free throws in the first half of action after drawing a foul from Phoenix star Chris Paul in a mismatch post-up play. 

Aside from Sotto, four more players finished in double figures for the 36ers, with Craig Randall II exploding for a game-high 35 points on an impressive 9-of-17 clip from long distance.

Randall, a former NBA G League player for the Long Island Nets, caught fire at the start of the payoff period as he unloaded 11 straight points to help the 36ers create a much-needed 10-point separation over the Suns with 9:41 to play, 107-97.

Robert Franks backstopped Randall with 32 points, while Antonius Cleveland and Daniel Johnson had 22 and 15 markers, respectively, for the red-hot 36ers, who converted on 24 of their 43 three-point attempts.

The Suns, on the other hand, shot 9-of-34 from deep.

Cameron Payne paced the Suns with 23 points, while former No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges scored 22 each.

Suns star Devin Booker came up with 13 points in the losing effort, while Paul tallied 6 markers and 12 dimes.

Sotto and the 36ers will look to sweep both of their NBA preseason games when they face Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Aleksej Pokusevski, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8 am on Friday, October 7 (Manila time). 

The Scores

Adelaide 134 – Randall 35, Franks 32, Cleveland 22, Johnson 15, Sotto 11, Dech 8, Drmic 7, McCarron 4, Harris 0, Marshall 0, Acouth 0, Thew 0, Galloway 0, Ipassou 0.

Phoenix 124 – Payne 23, Ayton 22, Bridges 22, Booker 13, Landale 12, Craig 10, Paul 6, Shamet 6, Johnson 4, Lee 3, Wainright 3, Biyombo 0. 

Quarters: 33-28, 71-59, 96-90, 134-124.


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