By Akio Mananes


With high hopes coming into the match, Kai Sotto went on to shine for the Adelaide 36ers with a season-high scoring effort.

But that light faded to black when the Illawarra Hawks suddenly caught fire from deep.

After tripping to Melbourne United with a 97-78 blowout, Sotto and the 36ers lost their footing anew as they bucked a 100-89 loss versus the hot-handed Hawks, during the 2021-22 NBL season at WIN Entertainment Centre, Monday.

Sotto hoisted the 36ers to within six after draining free throws in the second half, but the Hawks answered back with a 15-2 run to end the third quarter at 81-59.

The 7-foot-2 center capped off his second game with 12 points, going perfect from the foul line with 8-of-8 shooting, together with five rebounds.

Sunday Dech also tried to lift the 36ers’ fighting chance with 6-of-10 three-point outing to finish with 20 points, while Todd Withers gave ample support with 15.

Meanwhile, Harry Floring led the Hawks’ 15-of-28 flight from deep with 27 points, including 8 treys, as his brother Sam flooded the paint with 19 markers.

The 2020-21 MVP runner-up Tyler Harvy shared the spotlight after his previously cold games with 18 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, as Illawarra snapped its two-game losing skid to chart its 5-3 record in the standings.

Believed as the “worst defensive team in the league”, the Hawks proved the critics wrong after snatching the game with 10 steals while utilizing most of Adelaide’s 16 turnovers, cruising the visitors to the eighth seed with a 3-5 win-loss card.

Sotto and the 36ers will look to get back on their winning ways when they square off with Tasmania JackJumpers at the MyState Bank Arena on Friday (Manila Time).