GILAS Pilipinas slotman Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers test their bearings in the NBL Blitz preseason games over the weekend in Darwin, Australia before officially starting their redemption tour in the 2022-2023 NBL regular season next month.
Adelaide takes on South East Melbourne Phoenix tomorrow before going up against Tasmania JackJumpers on Monday as its first assignments in a final build-up to the regular season firing off on Oct. 1.
The 36ers then duel with Illawarra Hawks on Sept. 22 to wrap up their NBL Blitz campaign.
Last week, Adelaide bowed to the Perth Wildcats in back-to-back friendlies as Mr. Sotto made his mark in his NBL’s return for the second season.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino sensation had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the 36ers’ 98-87 loss in the first game. In the rematch, he put up eight markers and three rebounds as Adelaide fell anew, 97-91.
But Adelaide is not yet done as it will hit the road running after the NBL Blitz to go up against NBA teams in the United States as part of its serious NBL preparations after missing the playoffs last season.
The 36ers will have their mettle tested against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 2 at the Footprint Center then the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 6 at the Paycom Center.
Adelaide returns home right away for its season debut against Tasmania on Oct. 13 with Mr. Sotto expected to deliver a stronger campaign after going undrafted in the 2022 NBA Rookie Draft.
Mr. Sotto averaged 7.52 points on 50-percent field goal clip and 4.48 rebounds last year for the 36ers, who finished in seventh place with a 10-18 card.
Prior to his NBL comeback, Mr. Sotto impressed for Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers with monstrous averages of 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and four blocks in two games against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. — John Bryan Ulanday