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).
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.