Filipino basketball players

Nearing NBL debut, Kai Sotto says NBA ‘the ultimate dream’

Delfin Dioquino
Nearing NBL debut, Kai Sotto says NBA ‘the ultimate dream’

PROVING HIS WORTH. Kai Sotto knows he has to fight for his spot in the 36ers' rotation.

Adelaide 36ers Instagram page

Kai Sotto keeps his sights set on becoming the first homegrown Filipino to reach the NBA as he seeks to get better during his NBL stint with the Adelaide 36ers

The NBA remains the ultimate goal for Kai Sotto.

Sotto seeks to get better during his stint with the Adelaide 36ers in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL), keeping his sights set on becoming the first homegrown Filipino to reach the NBA.

“The long-term goal is always to make it to the NBA,” Sotto said in a story published on the NBL website.

“Hopefully next year or the following year. That’s the ultimate dream.”

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Kai Sotto expected to play mid-November NBL preseason for Adelaide

Kai Sotto expected to play mid-November NBL preseason for Adelaide

The 7-foot-3 Sotto, though, tempered expectations as he sees action in Australia, knowing he has to fight for his spot in a team that features one of the best big men in the NBL in Daniel Johnson.

Johnson is a three-time All-NBL First Team member and led the league in rebounding twice.

The 36ers also have Isaac Humphries, a 6-foot-11 slotman who played for the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA.

“I’m a rookie so I’ll start with my specialty, which is defense and rim protection,” the 19-year-old said.

“Right now, I’m just trying to be the best player that I can be every day. Just trying to be 0.001% better every day.”

As he tries to earn his minutes, Sotto relished the experience of learning from the 36ers’ veterans, particularly Johnson.

“[G]uarding Daniel Johnson is a challenge for me every day,” Sotto said. “You can’t predict what he’s going to do because he can pass, he can shoot, he can post up, and he’s got good strength.”

“Going to practice and guarding him is a challenge, but when we play with each other, now that’s a good feeling. That’s a good sight to see.”

Sotto and Adelaide will kick off their NBL campaign against the Tasmania JackJumpers on December 3.

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LOOK: Kai Sotto feels the love from Filipino community in Australia

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– Rappler.com

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.