‘NBA dreams of Sotto very much alive’

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    KAI Sotto’s high school coach is convinced the 7-foot-3 center’s NBA dreams are still very much alive.

    Coach Joe Silva, who handled Sotto for two years at Ateneo High School, said the NBA’s door has not been totally shut on the Filipino teen prodigy.

    “Kai is still young. He has a lot more opportunities to make it to the NBA and I’m sure he will do what needs to be done to achieve that goal,” Silva told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “As his former coach in high school, I, along with his other coaches and former teammates will support Kai unconditionally, through thick and thin, through ups and downs we are here for him and we will support him no matter what,” he added.

    Sotto, 18, was set to play for Ignite in the NBA G League but opted to return to the country and don the colors of Gilas Pilipinas in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark before it was canceled and the hosting was given to Doha last month.

    Doha’s hosting of the final window of the qualifiers was called off due to the outbreak of the new strain of the deadly COVID-19, however.

    Sotto was left with no option but to return to the United States, hoping to rejoin Ignite. But the team later said they and Sotto had amicably decided that he won’t play.

    East West Private, the management firm that handles Sotto’s career, is tightlipped on what will be the next move of Sotto.

    Silva maintained that Sotto still has the best chance of becoming the first homegrown Filipino to gain an NBA foothold.

    “We just need to be patient with Kai. He is still our best chance to have a full-blooded Filipino in the NBA,” he said.

    “Let’s just wish him all the best and support him all the way because if and when he makes it to the NBA, I’m sure all of us will be proud of him.”

    A former UAAP juniors’ MVP with the Blue Eaglets under Silva, Sotto opted to skip college and go pro.