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MANILA, Philippines – After riding the bench in their first three games, Kai Sotto finally made his much-awaited on-court debut with the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League, but they bowed to the Portland Trail Blazers, 88-71, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Friday, July 14, Manila time.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino NBA hopeful showed what he is capable of when given the opportunity as Sotto racked up 6 points on 3-of-7 clip from the field, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 blocks in 13 minutes and 23 seconds of action.
“It feels good to finally be out there. It’s my first time here in the Summer League, first time getting on the court so it’s just a lot of excitement,” said Sotto.
“I just wanted to impact the game. Sadly, we didn’t win, but there’s a lot to learn from this game,” he added.
With the Magic already trailing by double figures, 12-23, Sotto checked in at the start of the second quarter, but struggled in his first few minutes on the floor as he immediately committed a defensive three-second violation and failed to convert on his first field goal attempt.
In the dying seconds of the third period, Sotto scored his first Summer League basket off an offensive rebound, much to the delight of the fans at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Sotto then continued to make his presence felt on both ends in the fourth frame, swishing a wide-open mid-range jumper and soaring for a powerful two-handed slam, while also swatting away shots.
Michael Devoe showed the way for the Blazers – who played without their third pick in the 2023 NBA Draft Scoot Henderson – with 18 points, while Duop Reath, Shaedon Sharpe, and Jabari Walker all had 12 points each.
With Orlando also missing the services of Anthony Black, the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft, Dexter Dennis delivered 16 points to lead all Magic scorers.
Sotto hopes to crack the rotation and show off his wares anew when the Magic (0-4) take on the Boston Celtics (1-2) in their Summer League finale on Sunday, July 16 at 6:30 am, Manila time.
Portland 88 – Devoe 18, Reath 12, Sharpe 12, Walker 12, Murray 9, Badji 6, Williams 6, Rupert 4, Echenique 4, Minaya 3, Davis 2, Smith 0.
Orlando 71 – Dennis 16, Wilson 11, Weatherspoon 11, Campbell 10, Sotto 6, Toney 6, Baker 6, Hall 3, Jeffries 2, Hardy 0, Hill 0.
Quarters: 23-12, 45-19, 69-46, 88-71.