After strong Gilas showing, Kai Sotto helps Adelaide 36ers to victory

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FILE – Adelaide 36ers center Kai Sotto. Photo from Kai Sotto’s Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — Kai Sotto showed quality minutes in his return to Australia as the Adelaide 36ers edged the Melbourne United, 91-86, in the 2022-23 National Basketball League season on Thursday at John Cain Arena.

Buoyed by his Gilas Pilipinas stint in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup 2023  Asian Qualifiers, the 7-foot-3 center provided the spark off the bench as he finished with eight points, four rebounds, one assist, and a steal in 17 minutes of playing time.

Robert Franks led Adelaide with 21 points and 11 boards, while Anthony Drmic also scored 21 points, five rebounds two assists, and two steals.

Antonius Cleveland chipped in 15 points, five boards, and three dimes in their first game without Craig Randall II, who parted ways with the team.

The 36ers improved to a 4-4 record with Sotto coming off two big road wins against Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the Fiba qualifier.

Melbourne slid to 5-6 with Rayjon Tucker leading the way with 23 points and five rebounds in the loss.

Sotto and the 36ers battle the New Zealand Breakers (6-3) next on Sunday.

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