By Ernesto Nodado III


Kai Sotto and Adelaide 36ers almost snapped their back-to-back losing streak but faltered in crunch time to the South East Melbourne Phoenix on an 83-76 meltdown in Round 14 of the 2021-22 National Basketball League (NBL), Friday.

Sotto and company, in hopes to stage a spirited comeback, struggled to find their footing in the dying moments of the last quarter after Phoenix team captain Kyle Adnam drained a game-winning triple with 57.9 seconds left.

The seven-foot-two prodigy embraced his defensive duty this time with 4 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks, but was not enough to save Adelaide from plunging further into a losing dry spell.

Daniel Johnson also delivered big for the 36ers, chipping in 31 markers, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, while getting buckets at an efficient rate of 10-of-13.

This devastating blowout pushed them further to the bottom of the standings with a 5-10 record while South East Melbourne rose second with 11-5.

The 36ers kept the no.2 seeded team at bay during first quarter, 25-26, but not for long as Phoenix displayed prolific three-point and mid-range shooting in the second canto for a commanding 50-42 lead.

Phoenix zoomed to their largest lead of the game after Izayah Mauriahoohoo-Leafa buried a trey at 7:53, 60-47, and Brandon Ashley scored a lay-up to cap off the third quarter with a wide 65-54 spread.

Johnson, trying to lift the 36ers from the jaws of defeat, unleashed a scoring burst in the fourth quarter sealed by a game-tying trifecta with 1:19 left, 76-all.

But Adnam’s go-ahead three-pointer afterward tripped the 36ers until the end, missing crucial shots and succumbing defensively, en route to Phoenix's third consecutive triumph.

Creek anchored South East Melbourne's offensive end as he went on a hefty showing with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Sotto and 36ers will try to snap their losing streak anew come their matchup against the Perth Wildcats on March 10, 10 AM (PH time).

Edited by Jostle Pilayre