Home Editors' Picks Sotto, Adelaide 36ers edge Cairns Taipans, 91-87, in preseason game opener

Sotto, Adelaide 36ers edge Cairns Taipans, 91-87, in preseason game opener

By John Bryan Ulanday

KAI Sotto had a decent debut as the Adelaide 36ers claimed a gritty 91-87 overtime win over the Cairns Taipans in the National Basketball League (NBL) Blitz preseason games opener yesterday at the MyState Bank Arena in Tasmania.

Mr. Sotto made the most out of his limited action, finishing with seven markers, five rebounds, an assist and a block in 19 minutes ignited by an and-one slam dunk for his first NBL points.

The 7-foot-3 Filipino sensation started for the 36ers and won the jump ball before going for a baseline jam at the 7:01 mark of the second period for a 29-20 Adelaide lead.

He also finished strong for the 36ers, draining a crucial bucket in the last 43 seconds of regulation for a 74-72 lead before his teammates took care of business in extra session.

Daniel Johnson (33 points) and Tad Dufelmeier (14) led the way for Adelaide, which also gifted CJ Bruton a triumphant NBL head coaching debut.

Adelaide takes a one-day breather before plunging back to action tomorrow against the stacked Perth Wildcats, who finished runner-up to defending champion Melbourne United last season.

The 36ers will officially open their campaign in the NBL regular season opener on Dec. 3, also against Perth, after the Blitz preseason tourney slated until Nov. 28.

Dwight Ramos got two on his Gilas Pilipinas brother Thirdy Ravena as the Toyama Grouses swept the San-en NeoPhoenix in the Japan B.League over the weekend.

The Grouses escaped with a thrilling 90-89 win yesterday to complete a two-game sweep after running away with a 92-77 win on Saturday.

Dwight Ramos racked up a double-double output of 16 points and 10 rebounds on top of three assists for the Grouses, who also spoiled the big game of Thirdy Ravena.

Mr. Ravena finished with 26 markers, nine boards, five assists and three steals but missed the game-tying free throw at the buzzer for a tough San-en defeat.

It was Mr. Ravena who also drained the crucial triple for San-en in the last two seconds to tie the game at 88-all before Keijuro Matsui came to the rescue with a go-ahead bucket in the next possession.

Ramos and Toyama copped their third straight win to improve at 4-10 while Mr. Ravena and San-en succumbed to their sixth consecutive loss for a 3-11 card.