MANILA, Philippines – As the poster boy of Filipino NBA hopefuls, Kai Sotto has been used to high expectations.
But the 7-foot-2 teen has also earned high praise from Gilas Pilipinas legend Jimmy Alapag, who has taken notice of his hard work and dedication.
“Kai is a great kid and I think what’s going to serve him well is that the kid works hard, he’s got a great work ethic,” Alapag said in an interview with James Aiton of Favor Church.
“From the conversations I had with him since he’s gone back and forth from the Philippines to the States, he’s kept this journey level-headed, he’s dedicated himself to the work and he’s doing great.”
Alapag, who grew up in the US and had a rough start to his basketball career, understands how much effort and determination it takes for Sotto to work his way up to the NBA while being miles away from home.
“He absolutely gets a chance, for someone like him to make it to the NBA, [it will be] soon enough,” added Alapag, who’s now a coach for Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
The 17-year-old, who left the Philippines in April 2019, recently became the lone Filipino in the Basketball Without Border Global Camp held in Chicago last February.
As he competed with the best high school basketball players in the world, he became even more determined to improve his skills, especially his mental preparation, with Jr NBA-affiliated international basketball club The Skills Factory. (READ: Kai Sotto looks to intensify U.S. summer training)
Just like Alapag – whose three-pointer ended the country’s “Korean Curse” in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships – Sotto was vital to the national team as he led Batang Gilas to various tournaments including the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, where the team wound up at 14th place. – Rappler.com