'Double jackpot' for Australia-bound Kai Sotto
Kai Sotto signed a multi-year contract with Australian NBL team Adelaide 36ers
Twitter/Adelaide 36ers

'Double jackpot' for Australia-bound Kai Sotto

John Bryan Ulanday (Philstar.com) - April 22, 2021 - 3:19pm

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino wunderkind Kai Sotto's upcoming trip to "Down Under" to play for Adelaide 36ers in the National Basketball League is more than just a new beginning as he has also hit double jackpot with regards to his Gilas Pilipinas commitment and ultimate NBA dream.

Brushing off any possible conflict once the 7-foot-2 ace begins play in Australia, the 36ers management assured full support to his national team duties while serving as avenue to his continuous development for a golden NBA jump down the road.

Adelaide general manager Jeff Van Groningen said both the 36ers and the NBL work closely with the FIBA calendar, making it smooth to incorporate players who are committed to their national team responsibilities like Sotto with Gilas.

“We are very comfortable integrating national team players in our program. If a player is a national team player, it means he's a good player, so we work around it and make sure that both his national club and professional club are respected and we're expecting that to happen in both directions,” he said.

Along with his Adelaide signing for two years starting this 2021-2022 Season with an option for a third year, Sotto on Wednesday re-affirmed his commitment for Gilas in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), FIBA Asia Cup and even future tournaments.

Groningen sees no problem with that especially with familiarity and respect for Gilas program director Tab Baldwin, who previously coached in the New Zealand NBL and NZ national team.

As for Sotto's NBA path, 36ers coach Conner Henry vowed to leave no stone unturned like what they are doing to 18-year-old NBA prospect and Australia Boomers national team member Josh Giddey.

“Kai's got skillsets that will continue to develop. He's played some at the G League level and he understands the pace and the physicality of it — all of which translates to our club here in the NBL,” beamed Henry, the 2014 NBA D-League Coach of the Year.

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