Rising Pinoy basketball star Kai Sotto’s prospects to become the first homegrown Pinoy National Basketball Association (NBA) player got the attention of the prestigious Forbes Magazine.
Kai Sotto has been vocal about his dream to become the first Philippine-born NBA player.
“Kai Sotto Striving To Fulfill His Dream Of Becoming The Philippines’ First Homegrown NBA Player,” went the headline on the Forbes Magazine report on March 7, 2020.
“For Kai Sotto, a 7-foot-2, 17-year-old basketball prospect from Manila, Philippines, the past year has seen a steady progression of steps which he hopes will lead to reaching his ultimate goal,” wrote Forbes Contributor Joel Rush in his introduction of the Filipino basketball player.
The homegrown Filipino athlete has joined the Atlanta-based development program, The Skills Factory (TSF) National, which he recently led to a championship and earned him an MVP award.
Sotto was also one of the 64 boys and girls from all over the world that were invited and participated in the 2020 NBA Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Chicago, Illinois.
Rush writes that Sotto’s earliest chance to enter the NBA Draft is in 2021. Sotto is now continuously training under coaches Rob Johnson, Jeremiah Boswell, and former NBA player Chuck Person to improve his chances.
The Forbes article highlighted Kai Sotto’s strengths as a potential NBA player, namely:
Kai Sotto’s post game is the centerpiece of his offensive skill set.
Sotto also displays great court vision, using his height to scan above defenders, and his length to pass right over them.
For a player of his age and height, Sotto’s ball-handling skills are well above average, and he puts them to good use playing off the bunce when attacking closeouts and initiating drives out of post-ups.
Touch Around The Rim
Sotto has a soft touch around the basket, with good hands and a solid sense of timing on layups and putbacks.
Kai Sotto’s shooting range extends to the three-point arc, and he can pull up or spot up from just about any location on the court.
One specific aspect of Sotto’s rim protection stands out… and that is his propensity to retain possession of the ball and get his team going on the break with outlet passes after blocking shots.
He does a solid job of rim-running out of pick-and-rolls, and when he applies the effort on defense, can run to chase down blocks and close out on perimeter shots.
“So what would it mean to Filipinos for Kai Sotto to become their country’s first NBA star? It would be no exaggeration to suggest that Sotto would instantly ascend to national hero stature if he were indeed to become the first homegrown Filipino to play in the league,” writes Rush about the Philippines’ world-renowned love for the sport of basketball.
Forbes acknowledges that Kai Sotto has become “the highest-profile, and potentially most successful alumnus of the Jr. NBA Philippines program, which is one of the most important operations of the NBA in the country.”
Among Kai Sotto’s credentials:
- named the UAAP Season 81 Junior Basketball MVP for champions Ateneo Bue Eagles
- selected as a Jr. NBA Philippines All-Star in 2016
- represented the Philippines playing for several of the Philippines’ FIBA junior teams in international competitions
- Mythical 5 Team during the 2016 FIBA U16 Championships
- played in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship 2018 in Foshan, China
- played in the U18 Asia Championship 2018 in Nonthaburi, Thailand
- played in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece in 2019
- member of Gilas Cadets, the Philippine national team
“The road for Sotto to reaching that lofty NBA goal may be long and arduous, but if the last year is any indication, he’s making good progress in the right direction.” Forbes contributor Joel Rush wrote.
In a Facebook post on March 8, Kai thanked Forbes. “Humbled yet a lot of work to be done. Thank you Forbes.”
Kai Sotto had been scouted by top NCAA schools who attract basketball players exhibiting special qualities and potentials.
The Filipino player was also the featured player for a March 2020 report on the Bleachers Report.
Fil-Am Ryan Ang, the youngest basketball trainer in Bergen Country, New Jersey, is now offering free online training to keep kids safe at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Forbes Asia honored Filipino world champion athletes Carlos Yulo and Margielyn Didal, naming them among the best talents in the new edition of Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2020.
With reports from Blesilda Dela Cruz
SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to Kai Sotto as he aims for a first for the Philippines in the NBA!
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