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IN PHOTOS: Kai Sotto gains groove; Mark Magsayo shifts focus to title defense

Delfin Dioquino
IN PHOTOS: Kai Sotto gains groove; Mark Magsayo shifts focus to title defense

STANDOUT. Kai Sotto starts to showcase his wares of the Adelaide 36ers.

ADELAIDE 36ERS

Check out the photos of the top sports moments that highlight the last week of January

MANILA, Philippines – From Kai Sotto finally getting much-needed playing time in Australia to late NBA legend Kobe Bryant being remembered two years since his death, notable sports moments filled the last week of January.

Here are the photos of the top moments of the past week:

Kai Sotto gains groove in NBL
Kai Sotto. Adelaide 36ers Instagram page

After a string of DNPs, Kai Sotto has started to showcase his wares in the National Basketball League as he puts up solid numbers for the Adelaide 36ers.

Over the past week, the 7-foot-3 big man averaged 12 points and 3.7 rebounds during a three-game stretch, which saw the 36ers go 1-2.

Sotto capped the week with 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 clutch shot as he helped Adelaide stun the league-leading Melbourne United following a thrilling 88-83 overtime win on Sunday, January 30.

Mark Magsayo ordered to defend title
Mark Magsayo. Premier Boxing Champions Twitter page

Mark Magsayo has to quickly shift his focus on his title-retention bid as the World Boxing Council (WBC) ordered him to defend his featherweight title merely days after capturing it.

The unbeaten boxer from Tagbilaran City, Bohol became the fifth active Filipino world titleholder by wresting the WBC belt from American Gary Russell with a majority decision win on January 23.

Magsayo has repeatedly said he is willing to face anybody in the division as he seeks to become the undisputed featherweight champion.

Home bet Ashleigh Barty rules Australian Open
Ashleigh Barty. Loren Elliott/Reuters

Ashleigh Barty ended a four-decade wait for an Aussie to win the Australian Open after ruling the women’s tournament with a swift 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over American Danielle Collins in the finals on Saturday, January 29.

The world No. 1 became the first Australian to reign in the season-opening Grand Slam since Chris O’Neil bagged the women’s crown in 1978.

Barty claimed her third Grand Slam title after netting the 2019 French Open and 2021 Wimbledon championships.

Chiefs stay in Super Bowl hunt
Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs kept their redemption campaign running after escaping the Buffalo Bills on Monday, January 24, to reach the NFL American Football Conference Championship.

Falling short of the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy last season to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Chiefs eye a return trip to the Super Bowl as they face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Over in the National Football Conference Championship, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers vie for the other Super Bowl berth.

Fans honor Kobe Bryant two years since death
David Swanson/Reuters

Fans all over the world continue to pay tribute to late NBA legend Kobe Bryant two years since his death.

Los Angeles sculptor Dan Medina placed a temporary statue of Bryant and his daughter Gigi at the site where they died from a helicopter crash along with seven others on January 26, 2020.

Kobe would have been 43 years old, while Gigi would have been 15.

Blazing Suns remain hot in NBA
Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns. Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Phoenix Suns sustained their hot streak in the NBA as they notched their ninth straight victory to hike their league-leading record to 39-9.

Over the past week, the Suns beat the Utah Jazz twice and trounced the Minnesota Timberwolves to move three games ahead of the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.

The runner-up to defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks last year, the Suns are on track of eclipsing their franchise record of 62 won games in a single season, which the team achieved in the 1992-1993 and 2004-2005 seasons. – Rappler.com

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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.