HAVING coached Kai Sotto for two years when the 7-foot-2 center was playing for Ateneo High School in the UAAP Juniors’ play, coach Joe Silva could not be any prouder of what his former player has become.
“I am proud that even for a while I was able to handle Kai. He deserves everything he is getting now,” Silva told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“It was mostly through Kai’s hard work and dedication, his love for his nation and his family that he is where he is today,” he added.
Sotto, 18, was signed by the new Select Team in the NBA G-League two weeks ago where he will join up with athletic wingman Jalen Green and top amateur standouts like forward Isaiah Todd and playmaker Daishen Nix.
The move made Sotto only the third Filipino to play in the NBA G-League after Japeth Aguilar with the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2012 and Ray Parks Jr. with the Texas Legends in 2015-16.
Sotto, a former UAAP juniors’ MVP and Batang Gilas mainstay, made the right decision in his big move to forego college and bring his stuff to the G-League, according to Silva.
“Kai made a good decision by deciding to go to the NBA G-League,” said Silva.
“He will get the best training, best exposure and the best guidance in the G-League.”
Silva, who also called the shots for the University of the East Red Warriors in 2018 before he was replaced by the late Bong Tan last year, said Sotto certainly has what it takes to be the first homegrown Filipino to suit up in the NBA.
“In my opinion, he has a big possibility to be the first full born Filipino to play in NBA,” he said.
“Of course, he must work hard and develop his game, but I will be there to support him every step of the way.”