By NIKOLE JAVIER
Kai Sotto is heading to the Japan B.League after a two-year stint in Australia’s National Basketball League, the team announced on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
The Filipino import has signed with the Hiroshima Dragonflies after making significant progress as a regular starter with the Adelaide 36ers.
With Sotto’s move to Japan and keep himself active during the off-season, the national team standout is likely to join the NBA Summer League which could ultimately lead to another big break of making his big league dreams.
“We would like to announce that the Hiroshima Dragonflies have agreed on a new contract with (Kai Sotto) for the 2022-23 season,” the post read.
The decision came for the 7-foot-3 center as the Sixers bowed out of the playoff contention on Feb. 5 after an up-and-down season.
Hiroshima, the fourth-seed B.League team sitting with a record of 27-9 in the standings, are expecting Sotto’s addition to set them up for a championship bid.
“I am looking forward to playing for the Hiroshima Dragonflies. I want to do everything I can so that the Dragonflies, who are aiming to advance to the B.League championship, have a great season,” said Sotto in a statement.
The 20-year-old import is the second Filipino tapped by the Dragonflies following Justine Baltazar’s short-lived stint with the team in 2022.
General manager Shuji Okazaki has also tempered expectations for the aspiring NBA talent to eventually take the road traveled by Japan’s Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe in making the big league.
“In addition, he has a very high basketball IQ, can move quickly, and is good at running, so I am confident that he will be a good match for Hiroshima's defense and offense,” said Okazaki.
Sotto is also part of the 24-man Gilas Pilipinas pool suiting up for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers later this month.