Freeman Cebu Sports


WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

Kai Sotto is doing great in Japan. He scored double doubles and a career high 26 points in the B.League. In just his second season, the Filipino showed many things he can do, and a few he still learns. Above all, he has showed maturity. Even without the ball, he still has the balls to protect the ball.

But while he is great in Australia before and now in Japan, he is still not good enough to be drafted to the world premiere basketball league. At 21, the kid still has so much time to prove and improve. At 7’3” and growing, he has the height, but not yet the might to be in the world exclusive league. But of late he has vastly improved after recovering from injury that sidelined his draft campaign last year.

Give him time. An athlete peaks in late 20s and early 30s. Except LeBron James who turns 40 this year but plays half his age. Others played at the highest level beyond their 30s. James Harden, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Kobe Byrant who retired at 37 but also wrote 30 at 41. Then of course, the greatest Michael Jordan who retired twice, the first time to try baseball without basis and finally conceded at age 40.

See, the greats defy age. But the Filipino prodigy has no problem with time and opportunities. It may not yet be his time to shine, but definitely his time to refine. Barring any serious injury, he could still go places, even if it is not the greatest basketball place. He remains part of Gilas and its quest for national redemption in the worlds and the Olympics. But of course the target is not about the impossible global supremacy but the doable legitimacy of being one of the better teams in the world. And the best in Asia.

No rush, Kai is so young enough. For even if he pierces through the impenetrable today, he may not be able to play with a time long enough for him to slay. Or worse, he might end up a benchwarmer. But millions kill to share the bench with world basketball best. There is still great honor for Ryan Arcidiacono who became the first player in NBA history to play 20 consecutive games without a point. For, his time on court is not pointless.

Basketball is not all about shooting the basket. It is also about assists, rebounds, passes, steals, blocks, turnovers, and yes, fouls. No one monopolizes the ball. The basket is the ultimate goal. A player who does not score is still part of the core. That is why only team players should be allowed to play in a team sport. But those who play in individual sports are not necessarily selfish either. They play for flag and country, look at EJ. But indeed, being selfless in a team is one crucial factor to be selected, never mind those who were elected.

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