As Kai Sotto nears decision, Baldwin says PH still best choice

Delfin Dioquino
As Kai Sotto nears decision, Baldwin says PH still best choice
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin says people don't realize how difficult it is for a 16-year-old like Kai Sotto to make the jump to Europe



MANILA, Philippines – Tab Baldwin has not changed his stand on where Kai Sotto should play next.

The 7-foot-2 wunderkind has received multiple offers from European teams but the Ateneo Blue Eagles mentor believes staying here in the Philippines remains as the optimal choice that will benefit Sotto’s future.

“I’ve been on the record already saying Kai’s best decision would be to stay here. I haven’t changed that,” Baldwin said on Friday, March 15. 

“I still believe that’s the case and I think people just don’t understand what it means to go into the European theater and how difficult that is especially for a kid.”

The 16-year-old prodigy has previously revealed he is close to making a decision on his future, whether that be heading overseas or remaining in the UAAP where he still has two years of eligibility for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets. 

Among the reported teams who have tendered their offers to Sotto are EuroLeague’s Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Baskonia and Bundesliga’s Alda Berlin.

Sotto recently said Liga ACB’s Movistar Estudiantes has also joined the sweepstakes, making it a total of 5 European teams vying for the young Filipino big man’s services. 

While basketball fans, pundits and players are encouraging the big move to Europe, Baldwin is adamant it is here in the Philippines where Sotto will make significant progress in his development. 

“If he’s a pro getting over there to play, I think it’s fantastic. But he’s a kid who needs to be developed and that needs to be the emphasis. It shouldn’t be about what team he’s going to play for,” Baldwin said. 

“The next significant teams that he plays for should be in the NBA. And the best way for him to get there is to get himself into development program and not into where he has to give his skills and ability to a team.” 

“It should be in a situation where there are coaches devoting themselves in his development and his future. And I think we can do that here and I don’t think that can be done overseas.” –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.