D-day for Filipino NBA aspirant Kai Sotto

Published June 23, 2022, 4:39 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Ever since he had the growth spurt that allowed him to reach his 7-foot-3 lean frame and give this basketball-crazy nation a real hope to see a homegrown Filipino play in the NBA, Kai Sotto wanted nothing but to get his name called in one of the brightest stage in the world of basketball.

Photo from Sacramento Kings

Destiny will be revealed on Friday, June 23, when the NBA Rookie Draft commences in Brooklyn, New York, with the Filipino sensation pinning his hopes that the blood, sweat and tears are all worth it.

From a seven-foot teen beanpole out of Ateneo High School, Sotto went great lengths and traveled miles away from home soil to get his body and mind ready for the dream he has shared with a hundred million others.

After his supposed Ignite stint together with now NBA players Jalen Green and James Wiseman fell apart, Sotto tried to find another way to beef up his experience for the world’s biggest league.

He joined the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s NBL where he showed flashes of his potential, averaging 7.72 points on 50-percent shooting from the field, 4.48 rebounds and close to a block in 15 minutes of play.

Failing to make some noise ahead of the draft, Sotto then went on with workouts with a number of NBA teams in hopes to convince them and take a gamble on his talent.

“I would say I’m a skilled seven footer that can shoot from the outside. And I’m a pretty good passer at my height as well and I have a high basketball IQ and pretty good shot blocker,” said Sotto, now standing at the doorstep of his NBA dream.

Despite the intriguing potential, Sotto’s name failed to reach the Top 60 in the draft final projections of some top US-based websites. After overcoming a minor injury which derailed his workout schedules, his agent Joel Bell is pinning his hopes on one undisclosed NBA team who according to him committed the Filipino center.

Whether it will be one from the team he worked out with in the likes of New York Knicks, nChicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings or Indiana Pacers, remains to be seen.

One thing for sure though, along with the mountain of expectations he has in his shoulders are the prayers from his supporters back home who likewise hope to see him set his foot on an NBA court.

 
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