Kai Sotto is back on track for goal to be 1st homegrown Filipino player in NBA

Kai Sotto NBA Filipino player
Filipino star basketball player Kai Sotto is playing good ball games in the Australian NBL. Adelaide 36ers photo.

Pinoy star athlete Kai Sotto is back on track for his goal to be the first homegrown Filipino basketball player to join the National Basketball Association (NBA) of the United States.

This was the fearless forecast of Coach CJ Bruton of the Adelaide 36ers in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) where the 19-year-old Sotto currently plays.

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Bruton, a 6-time NBL champion who was drafted in the NBA in 1997, was quoted declaring that Kai Sotto will end up playing in the NBA and even predicted the 7-foot-3 center will enter the NBA draft this year.

“No doubt, Kai will have every opportunity to play in the NBA,” said Bruton in an interview on Playitright TV hosted by the Philippines’ sportscasters Quinito Henson and Dyan Castillejo.

“We want to give him every shot to be a first round (pick), play and contribute. His time will come. I’ve told Kai I plan on getting him there. He’s delivered and he’s learned from the clips I send him, he studies the game, knows his matchups, he’s a very good shooter.

“From every scout I’ve spoken to from around the NBA, I know he’s going to be there. It’s just a matter of when. He’s capable of doing more and I’m putting him in a spot where he can showcase his talent,” Bruton added.

Sotto has been getting both analysts’ and basketball fans’ attention as his hardcourt game numbers for goals and assists steadily increased over the current season of the ANBL, the third most prominent league after the American NBA and EuroLeague.

The former Ateneo High School MVP previously joined The Skills Factory in the United States, propelling the team to a championship and another MVP title. He then joined the American National Basketball Association G-League Ignite Team training before eventually leaving the development program in early 2021. Sotto played for the Philippines’ Gilas Pilipinas at the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers before suiting up for the 36ers.

Bruton praised Sotto’s impressive games. “His charisma, his athleticism, it all shines within our group. The way he’s played has been next level. Diving for loose balls in practice, blocking shots – which we know he’s capable of doing – and finishing on the other end with authority; and enjoying and bringing that smile in everyone’s faces and his own, which has been good.

“Kai’s delivering in spades. My job is to get him to the NBA. I keep pushing Kai and he’s been doing it. I see him diving for loose balls, finishing with authority, working hard, and developing his skills. He’s doing everything what is asked of him, he’s getting the job done. We’ve designed plays where he can run and drive, get the kicks, spread the floor. While he’s getting ready for the NBA, we’re also focused on winning with the 36ers.”

SEND WELL WISHES in the comments below to Kai Sotto as he delivers for the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian NBL while maintaining his sights on the NBA!

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.