Filipino basketball sensation and current NBA G League Ignite member Kai Sotto continues to elevate his game as he chases his dream of becoming the Philippines’ first homegrown NBA player.
Sotto, who has been training in the United States for over a year now, believes he has gotten better since the last FIBA U19 World Cup in 2019, where he averaged 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for the Philippines.
“I think I really got better. I think I got more athletic and I think I’ve been better a lot offensively because I’ve been around here in the States for over a year, training here and playing here,” Sotto told reporters in a virtual press conference on Thursday, December 10.
“The competition that I’ve played each and every day (in the US) is better so I think I really got better since the last Under-19 tournament,” he added.
The 7-foot-2 Sotto, who has always been compared to Dallas Mavericks’ 7-foot-3 center Kristaps Porzingis, now feels that a better comparison to his much-improved game would be to former Los Angeles Lakers star and two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol.
“I think there’s a little similarity with Kristaps when you look at the size and the height, but I think Kristaps is a lot different than me because he’s more athletic and he’s a better three-point shooter than me,” said Sotto.
“I think if I would compare myself to an NBA player, I think I would be like a Pau Gasol, who is more all-around, who can score, who can pass, who can defend, who can dribble and who can shoot.”
Sotto revealed that he has been studying the game of Gasol lately, with the help of his Ignite head coach Brian Shaw, who used to coach Gasol in the Lakers as part of Phil Jackson’s staff.
“I think he’s the player that I really watched these days especially being around coach Rasheed (Abdur-Rahman) and coach B Shaw (Brian Shaw), who coached Pau Gasol before… I’ve just been learning so much from them,” added Sotto.
Aside from the G League, Sotto also said he is looking forward to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming third window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers on February.
“I think it’s a higher probability for me to play this upcoming window, but it all still depends on the schedule because we might have a G League season next year,” said Sotto.
“I’m looking forward to the next window. I really hope that there will be a better schedule so I’ll be available and I’m really looking forward to it and I’m really excited.” –Rappler.com