Credit to Author: Tempo Online| Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2019 16:00:30 +0000
by Waylon Galvez
Kai Sotto is taking his 7-foot wingspan overseas where it is hoped he can reach for the skies.
After weeks of speculations, the 7-foot-2 Sotto finally made a decision to train abroad for the next few years with the goal of becoming the first Philippine-born player to make it to the NBA.
Sotto announced his decision in a post on his social media accounts, including his FB page and Instagram that drew thousands of likes and positive comments in a show of support.
“Nakapag-decide na po ako at ang pamilya ko,” said Sotto, the 16-year-old son of former PBA player and current NLEX assistant coach Ervin Sotto.
“I’ll be leaving soon to start training full-time. I want to devote the next two to three years to single-mindedly focus on my goal of joining the NBA by 2021 or 2022,” he added.
Sotto said he has consulted numerous times not just his family but basketball people whom he considers his mentors, including telecommunication boss Manny V. Pangilinan and Ateneo’s Arben Santos.
He did not divulge details of his plans though as he intends to announce it formally in a press conference today at the Shangri La Hotel in Makati. A source, however, said Sotto has agreed in principle to sign with a US-based management firm that will handle his career and progress as a basketball player.
Sotto discussed in his post that he received plenty of offers from abroad, and this has been documented as professional teams from Europe as well as college teams in the US have expressed intentions to land the Filipino player.
Some of the pro teams in the Euro league that have come knocking are EuroLeague’s Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Baskonia, Bundesliga’s Alda Berlin and Liga ACB’s Movistar Estudiantes.
Sotto said this is something that he hopes his parents, and perhaps the entire basketball loving country would appreciate as he attempts to achieve every player’s goal of playing in the NBA.
He also said that training internationally would benefit the national team as he is still inclined to play for flag and country in future international tournaments.
Sotto is expected to play for the Batang Gilas squad that earned a spot in the FIBA 19-under World Cup in Heraclion, Greece on June 29 to July 7 where the Philippines is in Group C with host Greece, Argentina and Russia.
“I will train very hard and sacrifice and focus in the next few years so that one day soon, you will be very proud of me,” said Sotto. “Gagawin ko po lahat ng makakaya ko, with the guidance of my Dad and Mom, to be the very best that I can be.”
“Para po ‘to sa future ko, ng pamilya ko, at especially po, para sa Batang Gilas, Gilas Pilipinas at higit sa lahat, para sa bayan,” Sotto added.