A year after Jr. NBA, 6’9" Kai Sotto now making his presence felt for Ateneo

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 11, 2017 06:04 PM
IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP. Kai Sotto has come a long way in only a year after towering above all in the Jr. NBA.

At just 14-years-old, Kai Sotto is already finding himself as a key cog in Ateneo de Manila High School’s challenge for the championship in the UAAP 79 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

After a ho-hum first round, Sotto has burst onto the scene and ended the elimination round with averages of 4.4 points, six rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.

The youngster’s size and length was on full display last Thursday when he compiled two points, 17 rebounds, and seven blocks in the Blue Eaglets’ loss to Far Eastern University-Diliman.

Not only that, 13 of those rebounds and all but one of those blocks came just in the first half.

While Ateneo fell short, there wasn’t any doubt that Sotto did all that was asked of him. “Kailangan kong dumepensa para makatulong sa team. Defense talaga yung pinakamalaking bagay na kaya kong mabigay sa team,” he expressed post-game.

And the kid isn’t minding at all his lowly two-point contribution. As he put it, “Yung mga beterano naman bahala sa opensa. Sa depensa at rebound lang ako ngayon kasi malaking tulong na yun.”

Without a doubt, a lot has changed for the son of former pro baller Ervin Sotto. This time last year, he was still towering above all in the Jr. NBA – ultimately snagging recognition as the camp’s MVP.

As he looks back, Sotto has nothing but fond memories for what was essentially the lift that landed him in Katipunan. As he put it, “Ang saya nung Jr. NBA tapos ang dami ko pang natutunan. Yung STAR (Sportsmanship, Teamwork, positive Attitude, and Respect) values, malaking bagay na natutunan ko yun.”

And Ateneo’s promising talent isn’t about to hit his ceiling just yet. “Kailangan ko lang magsipag pa para tuloy-tuloy lang,” he said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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