Eaglet teammates always knew Kai Sotto was going to take flight in US

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on May 19, 2020 04:54 PM
Ex-teammates always knew Kai was going to take flight in US
Dave Ildefonso, Kai Sotto, and SJ Belangel were the "Big Three" as Ateneo won it all in UAAP 81

Dave Ildefonso is the first and foremost reason Kai Sotto is where he is today.

"Well, yung dream ko lang naman ever since for Kai is maging kasing galing niya ako," Ildefonso said in the Ateneo de Manila High School online reunion organized by Hoops Coaches International last Friday. "Yun ang sinasabi ko sa kanya lagi dati pa eh - na tingnan lang ako paano ako maglaro para ready na siya pagpunta ng NBA."

Of course, the former National University star-turned-Ateneo returnee was only ribbing his teammate of two seasons and good friend of many years.

"All kidding aside, ever since rookie year niya, I saw him improve," he said. "I called it right then and there. Sabi ko, 'Sobrang kaya niya talaga. He is our chance.'"

Indeed, the 7-foot-2, now-18-year-old has just proven that "kaya niya" as he sets out to be the first full-blooded Filipino to play in the G League. "This is just a small thing and now, the question is, can he dominate," Ildefonso said.

He then continued, "Given his work ethic and his God-given talent, it is doable."

SJ Belangel, Sotto's court general for his first two years as a Blue Eaglet, only shared the same sentiment. "Knowing yung struggles niyo from dito to doon sa States, happy ako for him. One thing about him is he learns really fast and that will only help him," he said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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