Kai Sotto, along with Jonathan Kuminga and Reggie Hearn, spoke to reporters in a virtual media availability on December 9. In response to NBA Call-Ups regarding the support he receives from the Philippines, Sotto was full of praise for his native country.
There are players currently in the NBA with Filipino roots, such as Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz. Although, should Sotto reach the league, he will be the first-ever Filipino-born player.
The 18-year-old receives an enormity of support from his homeland, on a constant basis. With fans sending their encouragement on all social media channels.
“It’s the culture of the Philippines being really supportive. If you don’t know, basketball in the Philippines is really big,” Sotto said. “Me being a full-grown Filipino trying to make it to the NBA, they really support me and there’s been a lot of messages and comments”.
Prior to joining G League Ignite, the 7-foot-2 center represented Ateneo de Manila at the high-school level in Quezon City, Philippines. Before moving over to the United States in 2019, to join The Skill Factory in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sotto then opted to forego college, despite being recruited by several Division 1 NCAA programs. Instead, he opted to join the newly formed Ignite team for elite prospects. Led by Head Coach and 5-time NBA Champion (3 as a player, 2 as a coach), Brian Shaw.
“I just do my best to keep my feet on the ground, to keep working. Because at the end of the day when I reach my dreams, it’s all for them,” Sotto continued to say in response to support from his native Philippines.
“It’s just not Kai’s dream, it’s a lot of people’s dreams. I just work every single day to get better and for me to reach that goal. I’m doing it for my family and I’m doing it for them”.
The Filipino prospect is well on his way to become the Philippines’ first NBA player. As he continues to develop alongside elite prospects Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.
In the media availability on December 9, Sotto also spoke to NBA Call-Ups about how he is modeling his game off Spaniard Pau Gasol. Of whom he has been watching a lot of tape, in order to develop his own skill-set. As he prepares for the 2021 NBA Draft in just under a year’s time.
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