Kai Sotto, the 16-year-old, 7-foot-2 star of the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, will put all his hard work into pursuing an NBA career.
“I’ll be leaving soon to start training full-time,” he wrote in a post on his social media Monday afternoon. “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.”
Sotto is apparently going to train in the US but there were no further details to go along the training yet. European ball clubs including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, Baskonia, Alba Berlin, and Movistar Estudiantes have also hailed Sotto for training.
“After a lot of effort by me and my Dad to assess all the opportunities presented to me, I strongly feel (with his advice and the advice of other experienced mentors) that leaving immediately to start my training and getting the right exposure will go a long way to help me realize my dream,” Sotto added.
Sotto is a high school prodigy with a unique combination of talent, height, and skill. Coming off a career year in the UAAP Juniors Division where he arisen as the MVP with averages of 25.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks.
“This is for my future, my family, and especially for Batang Gilas, Gilas Pilipinas, and most of all, for the country,” Sotto added.
He concluded by thanking Ateneo and all the people who supported him along the way, “I will strive very hard to not let you down.”
“We also commend Kai for his commitment to play for Batang Gilas in the World Cup in Greece, and in future international competitions of the men’s national team, Gilas Pilipinas, including the FIBA World Cup here in 2023,” said Al Panlilio, president of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) fully supporting Sotto’s decision.
“The SBP is closely coordinating with the management team of Kai to ensure that all his needs are addressed and his stay in the US will be worthwhile and fruitful,” he added. “We are praying, together with the rest of our country, that the elusive dream of each and every one of us to have a natural born Filipino play in the NBA will become a reality,” Panlilio said.