UAAP 81 Juniors: 'No pressure' for Kai Sotto as Eaglets start title defense

Philip Matel on Nov 11, 2018 07:01 PM
'No pressure' for Kai Sotto as Eaglets start title defense
Knowing that targets are behind their backs being the defending champions, Kai Sotto says he is not pressured since he is doing his task every game. (FILE PHOTO)

Victorious in the first test of their title defense, the Ateneo Blue Eaglets are living without key players SJ Belangel, Dave Ildefonso, Joaqui Manuel, Jason Credo, and head coach Joe Silva.

Under the management of new coach Reggie Varilla, he said that his team will be employing a go-hard mentality in each game.

His team showed it most of the time, but there were flashes that he said the team was lackadaisical, even not going down on defense on some possessions.

Despite all that, Ateneo was able to carve out a grinded out 74-61 win over the UST Tiger Cubs, led by Kai Sotto's 20 points and 13 rebounds. The 16-year old, 7'1 big man also added four rejections.

Even Sotto admitted that his squad had the first-game jitters, pointing out that they were one of the younger squads of the eight-team tournament.

"May mga times na nag-fail kami pero most of the time hindi kami naggive-up kaya kami nanalo," Sotto said after the game.

Knowing that targets are behind their backs being the defending champions, the young center says he is not pressured since he is doing his task every game.

"Wala nang pressure kasi dati pa [meron] kaya di ko na naiisip yun. Gagawin ko lang yung trabaho ko kasi mawawala naman yan pag gumawa ako nang mabuti eh."

Even just one game under the guidance of Varilla, who previously was an assistant under predecessor Joe Silva, the son of former pro Ervin says he is already appreciating the effort shown to them by the new mentor.

"Para sakin sya siguro yung pinakamatalino at pinakagusto kong coach sa buhay ko. Dahil yung treatment nya sakin kakaiba eh. Tsaka yung treatment nya sa iba, di sya yung parang coach, para syang tatay kasi kahit off the court andun sya lagi kaming tinutulungan."

He then cited instances of his mentor's 'father-like' guidance to the squad.

"Minsan, pinapakain pa nya kami. Tsaka kung may coach ka na parang tatay mo, talagang ibibigay mo yung best mo para sa kanya."

 

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