NBL22: South East Melbourne Phoenix defeat Adelaide 36ers in epic comeback win, Cam Gliddon six three pointers

Down 15 in the fourth quarter, South East Melbourne produced an incredible comeback against Adelaide, sparked by a veteran who has endured an up-and-down season.

Gliddon and his Phoenix teammates blew the top off John Cain Arena with a memorable last quarter barrage that gave South East Melbourne its first home win in almost two months.

The Phoenix fell behind by 15 early in the last quarter and it looked all over.

But what followed was something the parochial home crowd won’t soon forget.

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Gliddon poured in four last-quarter threes as the Phoenix lit up the Sixers with 34 points in the fourth to complete the comeback.

He said the Phoenix — once 11-5 and on top of the ladder — had struggled to deal with the losing run that punted them out of the playoff picture.

“When we started off this season, we were winning,” he said.

“It’s not like you take it for granted but when it goes away, it’s tough.

“It’s tough on the mental side of things and the group, so no matter if playoffs are out of the picture, just winning feels good.”

Izayah Le’Afa’s three with 1.26 to go in the game gave the Phoenix their first lead of the game — after a plucky Adelaide had owned it throughout.

Sunday Dech hit a ridiculous fadeaway with 13.8 seconds left, but it was adjudged a two on review, leaving the Phoenix up one.

Le’Afa then popped in a pair of free throws to make it three, before Daniel Johnson and then Todd Withers missed deep tries that would have tied the game and forced overtime.

Cue pandemonium in the crowd and on the court.

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said Gliddon “straightened us up tonight” and paid tribute to the near-5000 fans who turned out to watch the Phoenix rise.

“That was really great, so happy with the turn up from the fans,” Mitchell said.

“(It was a) little bit of a surprise, to be honest, given the circumstances of us and our season but I’m in no doubt whatsoever that the players really appreciated it and it helped spur them on tonight.”

Coming into the season underdone following hip surgery, Gliddon was struck down by Covid — suffering badly — and even missed their last game with gastro.

But there were no signs of that on Friday night as ‘Glizzo’ as he’s affectionately known, scorched the Sixers with 24 points on six makes from deep.

Gliddon said his off-court struggles were just part of life.

“That happens, that’s life but I’ve tried my best to stay positive and make sure I’m competing at training and getting better every day,” he said.

“I think I’ve had some good training sessions and then, on the weekend, it just hasn’t come to fruition.

“I’m happy that I got to have a nice game, but I’m way happier that we got the win.”

It’s been a tough season for the Adelaide 36ers, but there is more than a glimmer of hope. After beating finals teams Perth and Sydney in their last two, they were good for so much of the game but could not withstand the Phoenix tsunami.

Sixers coach CJ Bruton said the fade out was indicative of a season where the Sixers had spurned chances in a number of close games.

“I told our boys, You can cry and put your lip down, but right now we’ve got another game we’ve got to prepare for,” Bruton said.

“While it’s disappointing and frustrating, that’s the way our season’s been.

“There are the little things that come back and bite you in the butt and that’s a game that we let get away.

“We’ve had a few of these, so it’s been up and down for us and we get one more chance to correct that.

“I can’t get back this game and this one hurts like the first loss that we had in Perth.

“While that was bigger, it’s still a loss and we get one more chance to learn from this, (fix) certain things down the stretch, how you close a game out, how you finish the right way.

“We’ve got to keep our heads up and now go prepare for New Zealand.

The Sixers had contributors all over the floor, with Daniel Johnson, Sunday Dech, Dusty Hannahs and Kai Sotto all reaching double figures.

South East Melbourne ends its season on the road in Perth, while the Sixers head south to Tassie to close it out against the New Zealand Breakers.


In his 100th NBL game, Dech did very little wrong. Made his name as a defensive stopper, but has become so much more for the Sixers. The 28-year-old banged in a pair of first-quarter threes and led his team with 20 points. Dech is averaging a career best 11.6 points per game this season in a tick over 30 minutes a night. He’s come a long way from the development player who won two chips with the Perth Wildcats back in the day.


Ryan Broekhoff was all but recovered from the shoulder injury sustained against Melbourne United earlier in the season. But the lay-off took its toll on his body and the key Phoenix man pinged a calf as his training intensified and has been shut down for the rest of the season. Contracted for next season, the sharpshooter will hope for a clean run at it after a pair of injury-affected years.


There was plenty of Filipino support inside John Cain Arena for towering Kai Sotto. And it erupted when he hit a three late in the third quarter to re-establish a 15-point margin. He finished with 16 off the bench. The 19-year-old is lightly built, but highly-skilled. He has a nation’s following and, with a deep shot like he possesses, you can see why there is a little NBA hype around the youngster.


South East Melbourne Phoenix 94-91 Adelaide 36ers


Gliddon: 24 points, 6 3PM

Munford: 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists

Ashley: 14 points, 11 rebounds


Dech: 20 points, 5 assists

Johnson: 18 points, 4 3PM

Hannahs: 18 points

Originally published as NBL22: Cam Gliddon goes off from deep as South East Melbourne Phoenix produce epic comeback win over Adelaide 36ers

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