By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Filipino NBA aspirant Kai Sotto wasted no time showing his skills in his first game back with the Adelaide 36ers during the 2022-2023 NBL Australia preseason.
Despite the 87-98 loss at the hands of Perth, Sotto balled out and finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds in just 12 minutes of playing time.
Sotto waxed hot at the start of the second period and bullied his way inside the Perth interior after slamming the ball three times to put his squad ahead, 48-47, entering the second half.
The seven-foot-three center had an efficient offensive performance and dropped an impressive 4/5 shooting from the field.
Aside from his stellar shooting, Sotto’s defensive presence also made an impact and became Adelaide’s anchor in the shaded lane.
Just like his debut season with Adelaide, Sotto was always there to bother shots while calling out the defensive plays to the guards staying in the perimeter.
However, the Filipino sensation was subbed out early in the game with 5:21 remaining, allowing Perth to further extend their double-digit lead.
Adelaide was top-scored by Antonius Cleveland with 23 big points backstopped by Daniel Johnson who contributed 12 points.
Sotto was fresh off a 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers stint with Gilas Pilipinas and teamed up with former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson.
The duo steered the PHL national team to a 1-1 split record after dropping the opening game against Lebanon and bounced back in front of their home fans against Saudi Arabia.