What you need to know about Kai Sotto's stint in Australia

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
What you need to know about Kai Sotto's stint in Australia
Kai Sotto signed a multi-year contract with Australian NBL team Adelaide 36ers
Twitter / Adelaide 36ers

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine basketball wunderkind Kai Sotto is headed Down Under to play for the Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia.

Becoming the first Filipino to play in the NBL, here are some fast facts about Sotto's next destination as he continues his pursuit of the NBA:

1. The 36ers have the third-most NBL championships

Having been part of the NBL since 1982, the Adelaide 36ers are one of the league's most decorated teams.
Among the long list of clubs in its history, the 36ers are third in the list of the most NBL championships won in the 42 years of the league's existence.

Tied with the New Zealand Breakers, the 36ers' number of titles is only behind the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United.

The Wildcats have the most number of titles with 10 while Melbourne comes in second with five.

2. Sotto's head coach was a former NBA player

In Australia, the 7'3" Sotto will be under the tutelage of head coach Conner Henry, who has seen a lot of experience as both a player and a coach.

Henry entered the NBA as the 89th overall pick in the 1986 draft. He was selected by the Houston Rockets.

Though his career was short-lived, Henry would play for three more NBA teams in the next two years -- the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings.

Henry would then move on to a number of teams in the American minor leagues, as well as overseas stints.

As a coach, Henry was named 2014 NBA D League coach of the year when he was with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

3. The 36ers have a number of rivalries in the NBL

Sotto's new team has gained a lot of formidable rivals in their decades-long stint in the NBL.

One of them, arguably their oldest rival in the league, are the Brisbane Bullets.

A heated competition that began in the 1980s, the 36ers reignited their strife with the Bullets when the latter returned to the NBL in 2016.

Also included in the 36ers list of rivals are the two teams with more hardware than them -- Melbourne United and the Perth Wildcats.

4. NBL teams play preseason games vs NBA squads

There is an annual series of games that pit clubs from the NBL and some teams from the NBA.

A yearly event that started in 2017, players from both leagues will play around three to seven games against each other.

Though the NBL is based in Australia, its games against NBA clubs have all previously been held in the US and Canada.

5. LaMelo Ball played in the NBL before the NBA

Already a perennial name in the NBA despite being a rookie, LaMelo Ball previously strutted his stuff in the NBL.

Veering away from the usual path of going to college or straight to the NBA after high school, Ball played a season with the Illawarra Hawks in the 2019-20 season.

Ball was named NBL rookie of the year before he declared for the NBA draft.

The 19-year-old's stint in Australia seemed to have boosted his draft stock as he went third overall in last year's NBA draft.



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