Kai Sotto allowed more minutes as 36ers down Hawks for 1st NBL win

Limited to just five minutes in loss to Tasmania, Filipino big man Kai Sotto gets more playing time as Adelaide eliminate Illawarra

MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto won more playing time and helped the Adelaide 36ers to a 90-80 home victory over the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s National Basketball League on Saturday, October 15.

Limited to just five minutes in their season-opening loss to the Tasmanian JackJumpers, the 7-foot-3 big man played for 11 minutes and delivered 7 rebounds and 2 blocks as the 36ers broke through the spine winning.

Sotto was left scoreless but anchored Adelaide’s defense early by tallying his two blocks in the opening period, which ended with the 36ers enjoying a 25-17 lead.

Although Illawarra stormed and even took a 68-50 lead for three quarters, Adelaide edged their opponents 32-20 in the final frame behind the hot hand of Craig Randall.

Randall broke for 17 of his 28 points, a fourth-period high, as they led by 14 points en route to handing the Hawks their third loss in four games.

The engineer of the 36ers’ upset victory over the NBA team Phoenix Suns in the preseason, Randall set Illawarra on fire by knocking down 4 of his 6 three-pointers in the final salvo.

Robert Franks scored 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 steals in the win, while Antonius Cleveland had 16 points, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

Daniel Johnson had 10 points and 8 rebounds as Adelaide’s starting center.

The Hawks were led by Deng Deng, who finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals, and Tyler Harvey, who had 16 points and 5 steals.

Sotto and Adelaide will next play on the road when they take on defending champions Sydney Kings on Friday, October 21. – Rappler.com

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