National Basketball League

Adelaide coach demands more from Kai Sotto to deserve bigger role

JR Isaga
Adelaide coach demands more from Kai Sotto to deserve bigger role


Adelaide 36ers head coach CJ Bruton challenges Filipino star Kai Sotto to earn his role and prove that he deserves more in the upcoming 2022 Australia NBL season

MANILA, Philippines – Heading to his second season in the Australia National Basketball League (NBL), towering star Kai Sotto is eager and ready to find a bigger role with the Adelaide 36ers.

However, if head coach CJ Bruton will have his way – and he will – he wants to see more from his prized Filipino recruit.

“Playing a bigger role – I think he wants that and that’s what he said in the off-season, ‘I want you to believe in me coach’, but as you know, if he wants me to believe in him, he’s got to show me something on the floor every single day,” Bruton told the NBL.

“It’s something every coach wants to see from every player every single day, that they deliver in that space. There were games he didn’t play, but if you talk about the course of the [last] season and his momentum, he kept going on that [upwards] trajectory which is what we wanted to see.”

Last season – Sotto’s first in the professional ranks – the Gilas Pilipinas national team stalwart gave glimpses of greatness with averages of 7.5 points on 50% shooting, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks packed into just 15 minutes per game.

Unfortunately, Sotto was unable to showcase more of his potential at bigger stages as the Sixers fell out of playoff contention with a 10-18 record – only good for seventh place in the 10-team league.

Following a heartbreaking 2022 NBA Draft where Sotto was left unpicked by any of the league’s 30 teams, the former Ateneo high school star certainly has a chip on his shoulder with a lot more to prove heading back to the NBL.

On top of that, the secret is out that Sotto can indeed hang with the world’s best ballers, but after every challenge that he has faced in his career to this point, the 7-foot-3 big man is certainly ready to brush off his setbacks, and stand tall once again on and off the court.

“All will be challenging, our main focus this preseason is ourselves to continue on developing and working with each other,” Sotto told the NBL.

“This Blitz [preseason tournament], we’re going to push ourselves and you can expect our maximum effort, and continue on improving.”

The NBL Blitz tips off on Friday, September 16, with Adelaide locked in for its debut against Southeast Melbourne Phoenix at 6 pm (Manila time).

The Sixers will then have two more matches on Monday, September 19, against the Tasmania Jackjumpers, and on Thursday, September 22, against the Illawarra Hawks.

Look for Sotto to once again prove that he belongs at the top with a renewed fire to compete against the world’s best. –

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