MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers unleashed a fourth-quarter surge to turn back the South East Melbourne Phoenix, 100-92, in Australia’s National Basketball League on Sunday at Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Sotto made a highlight dunk to give Adelaide a 78-71 lead with 5:40 to go in the fourth quarter. His slam embarked the 36ers’ late 18-5 run, capped by Daniel Johnson’s lay-up, to build a 96-77 spread with 1:50 remaining, never looking back to complete a convincing win over the No.5 Phoenix.
The 7-foot-2 Filipino center had four points on 2-of-4 and grabbed five rebounds, one assist, a steal and a block as he only played 15 minutes and 44 seconds with four personal fouls. But it was enough to help Adelaide in bouncing back from last week’s 74-101 blowout loss to defending champion Melbourne United.
Johnson led the 36ers’ charge with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Sunday Dech tallied 21 markers, five rebounds and three assists, while Mitch McCarron and Hyrum Harris added 11 apiece.
Adelaide improved to 7-13 still in the No.8 seed while dropping South East Melbourne to 12-10 record.
Mitch Creek led the visiting team with a double-double 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Xavier Munford delivered 24 markers but their efforts went for naught after failing to get their second straight victory.
Kai and Co. will play their second straight home game against the No.6 Tasmania Jack Jumpers (22-12) on Friday.
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