BASKETBALL

Without a doubt, Kai Sotto did the right thing by challenging Jalen Green

By Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 21, 2019 03:29 PM

Make no mistake, Kai Sotto was doing his job when he was put on a poster by Jalen Green

Jalen Green put Kai Sotto on another poster last Wednesday in the Supreme 16 of the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM.

Early in the second quarter of the game that eventually ended as a FilAm Sports USA triumph over Ateneo de Manila High School, Green stopped the show with a slam dunk over Sotto.

Of course, the highlight made the rounds on all media, be it on TV or social media.

And of course, just about everybody had their thoughts on the US' no. 1 ranked high schooler's thunderous throwdown over the Philippines no.1 ranked high schooler.

For Blue Eaglets mentor Reggie Varilla, though, Sotto was just doing what he was supposed to do - provide help defense. "It is what it is. We had a defensive breakdown and gave the opponent an easy basket," he shared.

He then continued, "One of our players opened up his defensive stance and gave Jalen a straight line to the basket so Kai helped out his teammate which was the right read for that situation."

Indeed, that was what happened.

Coach Reggie, though, was quick to add that there was something their 7-foot-2, 16-year-old could have done to better challenge Green. As he put it, "His help defense was a bit late. It should have been outside the lane as we planned."

In the end, the Ateneo mentor made it clear that it was the team who failed to make a defensive stop and not just Sotto. "It was a great highlight reel for FilAm Sports because of a mistake on our defensive rotation. For us, giving a straight line drive is a mortal sin whether the opponent makes or misses a layup or dunk," he explained.

Whatever it is, all of the Blue Eaglets are just glad to take away many learnings after being ousted by the Fil-Ams. "Wala sa game shape and timing yung boys maybe because busy sa finals so we haven't had formal practices for the past three weeks. But siyempre, the boys won't make any excuses kaya we responded to NBTC's invitation pa rin," coach Reggie said.

He then continued, "Our stint in the NBTC has been a humbling learning experience for us that can help us prepare for the next season."

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