After two years of games in the AAU and, later on, the pro-am circuit in the US, Kai Sotto finally got to play some meaningful international games over the past month.
In Clark, the 19-year-old was able to face Asian teams South Korea and Indonesia in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers that saw Sotto average 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game in a 3-0 sweep of the window.
But the OQT though was a reality check for Sotto and the rest of the team of how good the rest of the world is.
And Sotto wants more.
“I am more than grateful to play against these teams here, to play against outstanding players,” Sotto told FIBA.
“I learned a lot, and I can’t wait for the next time to play with my team.”
Sotto is definitely happy to be with this team.
Off the court, Sotto has posted cheeky moments he has had with good pals Geo Chiu and RJ Abarrientos on social media. And the chemistry they have developed also showed on the court.
For Sotto, he is committed to grow and develop with this team.
“We still have time to improve. But, I believe in this team. I believe in this coaching staff. So you can expect us to be better – and we will.”
According to multiple sources closely monitoring the situation, Sotto and his family will take the next couple of weeks off to relax and enjoy after two years of grinding in the States.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the Adelaide 36ers, and East West Private are also working hand-in-hand to fix Sotto’s schedule as the FIBA Asia Cup takes place in August while the Adelaide 36ers are also about to begin camp.
But whether he gets to play in the Asia Cup or not, Sotto stressed that everything he is doing is for the country as he wants to be the best basketball player he can be heading into the 2023 World Cup.
“The World Cup is our main goal, and this team is the development team for the future,” Sotto noted.
“Everybody sees that we are very young, and many of these players will be on the roster for that time. Therefore, I believe everybody will keep working hard and get better until then.”