BUOYED by a historic win against the Phoenix Suns, Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers shoot for another upset against Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder in a bid to sweep their NBL X NBA Tour at the Paycom Center.
Game time is at 7:30 a.m. (Manila time) with the Australian ball club featuring the 7-foot-3 Filipino sensation seeking a perfect ending to its American trip after a giant 134-124 stunner over the Suns earlier this week.
Standing on the 36ers’ way is a familiar player in sophomore Thunder Josh Giddey, who played for Adelaide before being the sixth pick of OKC in the 2021 NBA Rookie Draft.
Mr. Giddey, 19, has been warming up for his anticipated tough duel against his former team with impressive campaign so far in OKC’s preseason games against the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The versatile guard nearly dropped a 14-point, 12-rebound, 9-assist triple-double in OKC’s 112-101 win over Denver. He then put up 13 points, three rebounds and two assists in the Thunder’s narrow 98-96 loss against the Mavericks.
But the 36ers are up for the challenge with Craig Randall and Robert Franks leading the way after erupting for 35 and 32 points, respectively, against the Suns featuring the Big 3 of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
Mr. Sotto, the 7-foot-3 wunderkind, is expected to deliver as well after his efficient 11-point outing against Phoenix in only 18 minutes of play.
The 36ers last time out became the first overseas ball club to beat an NBA team since Turkey’s Fenerbahce bested the Brooklyn Nets in 2015.
Adelaide will troop back to Australia after the NBL X NBA Tour to formally begin its regular season campaign next Thursday against Tasmania. — John Bryan Ulanday