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'Libre lang mangarap': How a Filipino cliche led to Kai Sotto's NBA journey

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
'Libre lang mangarap': How a Filipino cliche led to Kai Sotto's NBA journey
Kai Sotto
Adelaide 36ers / Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — In the span of a basketball player's career, there are multiple sources of inspiration — from motivation coming from their family, to a random event in their life.

But for Kai Sotto, who is working to become the first full-fledged, homegrown Filipino player in the NBA, it was an Filipino cliche saying that he heard when he was a kid.

"I would say, it all starts from a dream, from a goal... In the Philippines, [there's a saying] libre lang mangaraap — it's free to dream," Sotto shared in an interview organized by NBA Philippines.

"When I heard about that, I dreamt big," he added.

Even during his youth, Sotto was zeroed in on his dream. From his high school days in Ateneo, it was clear what he had wanted in life.

"My dad played in the PBA, I said I want to play in the NBA," Sotto said.

Now, after declaring for the 2022 NBA draft, Sotto is closer more than ever to making his dream a reality.

Fresh from playing one season with the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian NBL, Sotto has slowly but surely increased his draft stock.

He has also been working out with multiple NBA teams. His agent, Joel Bell, said that a team has already committed to picking the Filipino cager.

Come the draft on June 23 (June 24, Manila time), Sotto will be finding out if his dream will be realized sooner rather than later.

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KAI SOTTO

NBA

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