Kai Sotto efficient as Adelaide upsets Cairns to keep playoff hopes alive

Kai Sotto efficient as Adelaide upsets Cairns to keep playoff hopes alive

Kai Sotto makes his presence felt to help the Adelaide 36ers end a five-game skid and stay in playoff contention

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers finally snapped their five-game losing streak and kept their playoff hopes alive with a thrilling 99-96 upset of the Cairns Taipans in the National Basketball League in Australia on Monday, January 30.

Despite limited playing time due to foul trouble, the 7-foot-3 Filipino big man once again delivered as a starter for Adelaide as he scored 12 points on a near-perfect 4-of-5 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 assist , and 4 fouls in 12:49 minutes of action.

Antonius Cleveland was on a mission for the 36ers in the do-or-die affair, scoring a game-high 27 points to go with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals, while Robert Franks also came up big came up with a versatile performance of 20 markers, 9 boards and 5 dimes.

With only a single point ahead, 97-96, former Golden State Warriors NBA champion Ian Clark took it upon himself and delivered the pivotal basket to give the 36ers a 3-point lead with only 34 seconds remaining.

Cairns’ Shannon Scott had a chance to get the deficit back to a point on the next play, but he failed to convert on his layup attempt with 24 seconds remaining.

Cleveland then could have iced the game for the 36ers on the next possession with two free throws, but both of his charities also missed the mark. Fortunately for Cleveland, he was able to redeem himself with a decisive steal on Cairns’ Tahjere Mccall, which sealed the deal for Adelaide.

Adelaide overcame big-scoring bursts from DJ Hogg and Sam Waardenburg, who each fired 26 points for second-seeded Cairns.

With the hard-earned win, the 36ers improved their record to 12-14, but they still can’t afford to drop their final two elimination games and will need the Perth Wildcats (14-12) and the Melbourne United (14-13) have to lose all their remaining games to create a three-way tie for the sixth and final play-in spot.

Adelaide takes on the Sydney Kings in a crucial clash on Friday, February 3 (Manila time) at 4.30pm.

The scores

Adelaide 99 – Cleveland 27, Franks 20, Sotto 12, Clark 11, Johnson 11, Dech 7, Drmic 6, Acuoth 3, Harris 2, McCarron 0, Galloway 0.

Cairns 96 – Hogg 26, Waardenburg 26, Kuol 15, Ayre 11, McCall 8, Scott 5, Antonio 3, Deng 2.

Quarters: 25-24, 50-53, 75-77, 99-96.

– Rappler.com

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