Kai Sotto and his Adelaide 36ers will be facing last season’s runner-up Perth Wildcats instead of the newcomer Tasmanian Jumperjacks in the Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) 2021-22 season opener on Dec 3.

Photo from Adelaide 36ers

The league announced a change of schedule in the first six rounds of the season to maximize the opportunities for fans to troop to the venue and attend the games.

“We will always prioritize having as many fans in home venues as possible as per our policies and processes,” said NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger regading the schedule change which was done in line with the league’s policies regarding border closures and opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Like every sporting organization around the country, we were acutely aware our schedule would likely change as Australia and New Zealand started to open up and consider vaccination rates and health advice,” he added.

Sotto and the 36ers will face the Wildcats on its home turf at the RAC Arena while the Jumperjacks, will take on the Brisbane Bullets in the season’s curtain raiser

Loeliger, assured that the league prioritized the fans and the integrity of the schedule when the NBL reshuffled the game schedules.

“We have the ability to swap and change when necessary but will always maintain the integrity of the schedule and we will always put fans first,” he said.

“Getting teams into states and fans into venues safely remains are absolute priority. We will maintain a flexible approach to the schedule to ensure any potential further changes are made with these two objectives at the forefront,” the NBL executive added.

The 36ers will still make their home court debut on Dec. 5 although they will be locking horns with Illawarra Hawks, instead of the Bullets. Sotto’s supposed clash with fellow Asian giant and Bullet’s 7’5 chinese center Liu Chuanxing will have to wait as the two squads will not face each other in the first six rounds of the season.

The 36ers will take on the Jackjumpers on Dec. 9, New Zealand Breakers on Dec. 12 and the Wildcats once again on Dec. 28.

Sotto will have his first taste of NBL action when the 36ers take on Cairn Taipans in NBL Blitz pre-season games on Nov 14. A preview of the the season opener between Adelaide and Perth is also expected when the two tangle in their pre-season match-up on Nov 16.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/11/11/schedule-change-pits-sotto-36ers-vs-perth-wildcats-in-nbl-opener/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=schedule-change-pits-sotto-36ers-vs-perth-wildcats-in-nbl-opener)