NBL takes notice of Kai Sotto's performance in FIBA qualifiers

Published June 23, 2021, 9:11 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Australia’s National Basketball League took notice of the performance of its recruit Kai Sotto as the 7-foot-3 Filipino prodigy made his Gilas Pilipinas seniors team debut in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga.

Kai Sotto (center) and South Korea’s naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe (FIBA)

Sotto, who will suit up for the Adelaide 36ers, helped the national team win its three matches in the Clark bubble, serving as a reinforcement under the paint while also showing off his guard-like skills in between.

In one of the highlight reels posted by the NBL, Sotto can be seen going up against South Korea’s naturalized player Ricardo Ratliffe, a former PBA import, and delivering the ball from coast to coast.

In that game, the 19-year-old center finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and two assists in 18 minutes of play which saw Gilas Pilipinas edging South Korea, 81-78, thanks to SJ Belangel’s buzzer-beating trey.

READ: Gilas repeats over South Korea, completes sweep of FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

His connection with his teammates, especially from the guards, was also evident despite only spending a short time training with the national team.

In return, Sotto made it short but sweet on his social media account.

“Blessed,” wrote the former Ateneo high school standout.

READ: Gilas coach all praises for Kai Sotto after gutsy win vs S. Korea

Fans also pointed out how Sotto’s game improved in time, especially in terms of footwork, ball handling, and finishing with contact.

Perhaps, this is just a glimpse of what he will provide come his stint at the NBL in Australia.

Before that though, Sotto and the rest of Gilas Pilipinas leave for Belgrade, Serbia to compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The national team will be facing Serbia and Dominican Republic and only the top two teams will advance to the semifinals of the Belgrade OQT.

READ: Gilas coach sees good exposure for Kai Sotto in Belgrade OQT