Sotto buckles down to work


    TIME to put in the work.

    Kai Sotto and the NBA G League select team arrived and began to toughen up last Tuesday in Walnut Creek, California.

    The 7-foot-2 center posted a photo of his practice jersey (No. 11) and updates of their training on his Instagram account @kzsotto.

    “Beginning of a new chapter that’s about to be legendary,” said Sotto.

    Also part of the squad are top amateur standouts such as athletic Fil-Am wingman Jalen Green, forward Isaiah Todd, playmaker Daishen Nix, and Congolese forward Jonathan Kuminga, with former NBA champion Brian Shaw calling the shots.

    Sotto is bidding to become the first homegrown Filipino to suit up in the NBA after several Pinoys tried but failed in the past: PBA legend Johnny Abarrientos in the 1990s; now pros Japeth Aguilar, Kiefer Ravena, and Ray Parks Jr., and collegiate star Kobe Paras of the University of the Philippines.

    The pioneering team will play a limited schedule and won’t be affiliated with any individual G-League franchise.

    The son of former PBA veteran Ervin, Sotto left the Philippines last year to train at the Atlanta-based The Skills Factory and was signed up by the select team last May 11.

    A former UAAP juniors’ MVP with Ateneo High School and a Gilas Pilipinas Youth standout, Sotto opted to skip college and take a year before entering the NBA Draft.

    Under the G-League select program’s path, players will be given a chance to play with veterans and be coached by experienced tacticians like Shaw, who is joined by assistant coach Raasheed Abdul-Rahman and athletic trainer Pete Youngman, to provide mentorship throughout the season.

    Sotto is only the third Filipino to play in the NBA G-League after Aguilar with the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2012 and Parks with the Texas Legends in 2015-16.