Just like their senior counterparts, the “no-cellphone rule” was implemented by the coaching staff of Batang Gilas Pilipinas for the young Filipinos during their campaign in the 2018 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship.
Kai Sotto did not follow the rule. But it was not because the 7-foot-1 standout had special treatment for the team. It was because he is currently attending summer classes at the Ateneo de Manila High School.
“It’s about helping develop better Filipinos, better sons, better student-athletes, and that’s why we are immensely proud of this team,” shared Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes during the Chooks-to-Go-hosted Homecoming of Batang Gilas Pilipinas, Tuesday evening.
Reyes disclosed that the players of Batang Gilas Pilipinas had to sacrifice a lot of things for this campaign. Sotto, who averaged 16.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game, had to miss class for flag and country.
“Kailangan ko mag-focus sa mga kailangan kong gawin. Siyempre basketball at studies lang muna,” the 15-year-old shared.
And it is because even at such a young age, the top-ranked high school prospect in the Chooks-to-Go/NBTC rankings knows that basketball is not forever.
“Hindi ko masyadong iniintidi yung mga ganitong situations. Focus lang ako sa mga kailangan kong gawin para sa future,” the Chooks-to-Go ambassador admitted.
Upon hearing this, his father Ervin Sotto disclosed what he always tells his son.
“Para sa akin kasi parang sobrang bilis. Hindi ko akalain na ganoon kabilis yung transition ng career ng bata,” the former PBA pro shared.
“Lagi kong sinasabi kay Kai na stay humble at stay hungry. Tapos always stay grounded.”