Batang Gilas Kai Sotto towers over David Chuabio of Singapore on a one-on-one matchup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Kai Sotto to pursue NBA dream
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - March 25, 2019 - 5:08pm

MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto will leave Ateneo and the Philippines to pursue what every basketball-loving Filipino dream of — to play in the NBA.

In a lengthy post in his social media account Monday, the 7-2 Sotto said he plans to leave the country as soon as possible to undergo rigid training with an eye of making it to the NBA two or three years from now.

“Nakapag-decide na po ako at ang pamilya ko (My family and I have come up with a decision),” said Sotto in his official Instagram account @kzsotto.

“I’ll be leaving soon to start training full-time. I want to devote the next two to three years to single-mindedly focus on my goal of joining the NBA by 2021 or 2022,” he added.

Sotto said he and his family contemplated hard before coming into this decision.

And he doesn’t want to waste time.

“After a lot of effort by me and my Dad to assess all opportunities presented to me, I strongly feel (with his advice and the advice of other experienced mentors) that leaving immediately to start my training camp and getting the right exposure will go a long way to help me realize my dream,” said Sotto.

Sotto is seeking to become the third player with Filipino blood to play in the NBA next to Fil-Ams James Townsend in the late 70s and Jordan Clarkson at present.

If he makes it that far, he will become the first full-blooded Filipino to ever don an NBA uniform.

It will not be easy though as Filipinos like Japeth Aguilar, Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks all tried and fell short of chasing the NBA dream.

Sotto has dominated high school basketball in the past couple of years being the UAAP MVP and two-time Mythical Team member and the unquestioned leader of the national youth team sent in international tournaments, making people believe that he will become the face of Philippine basketball in the near future.

And rightfully so.

In his final season with the Eaglets, Sotto averaged a whopping 25.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 blocks, earning him the runaway UAAP Season 81 Juniors MVP award.

So impressive was Sotto locally and internationally that European club teams Real Madrid Barcelona are pursuing the 16-year-old to join them.

Whether he will go to Europe or try out for a US NCAA Division I school, Sotto vowed to give it his best effort.

“I will train very hard and sacrifice and focus in the next few years so that one day soon, you will be very proud of me,” he said.

KAI SOTTO
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