Coach Joe on facing Kai: ‘Now I know what other coaches feel’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 23, 2018 02:58 PM
Coach Joe on Kai: ‘Now I know what other coaches feel’
From now on, coach Joe Silva will be at the opposite end of Kai Sotto's game-changing ways

New head coach Joe Silva was well on his way to guiding University of the East to an upset of the Gilas cadets last Tuesday.

That was until Kai Sotto entered the court for the national team.

The 7-foot-1, 15-year-old just had five points, three rebounds, and two blocks to his name, but it was during his time on the floor when the Gilas cadets went on a 13-0 run that erased an 11-point deficit and that eventually ended as a much-needed two-point win.

Silva has seen that kind of impact many times before – but it was as Sotto’s mentor and not as opposing coach. “Now, I know what other coaches feel being in the other side of things. Naramdaman ko na anong presence ng Kai Sotto,” he candidly told reporters following the Red Warriors’ 61-63 loss.

Silva had coached Sotto in Ateneo de Manila High School for two years before the former took his new post in Recto.

And in the first meeting the once mentor and mentee, of course, the mentor had much insight on the mentee.

“Sabi ko lang (sa UE), pahirapan natin si Kai,” Silva shared.

He then continued, “E, pahirapan natin, siyempre easier said than done.”

Indeed, the UAAP Juniors champion and Finals MVP proved to be the difference-maker for the national team in the pivotal period.

And in the end, the mentee got one over his former mentor.

Asked about their interaction post-game, Sotto answered, “Wala naman (siyang sinabi). Si coach Joe kasi, pag talo, walang sinasabi talaga.”

Good thing then that before the game, the two already shared their sentiments for each other. As Silva recalled, “He approached me before the game, sabi niya, ‘Coach miss na kita.’ Sabi ko, ‘Miss na rin kita.’ Yun lang.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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