Hiroshima made it official on Tuesday, signing Kai Sotto to a deal for the rest of the 2022-23 B.League season.
Tiebreaker Times was the first to report on the development.
For the 20-year-old Filipino, he looks to lead the Dragonflies to the championship — something that eluded him during his two-year stint with NBL’s Adelaide 36ers.
“I am looking forward to playing for the Hiroshima Dragonflies,” said the 7-foot-3 Filipino. “I want to do everything I can so that the Dragonflies, who are aiming to advance to the B.League Championship, have a great season.
“I am grateful to the president [Nobuyoshi Ura] and GM [Shuji Okazaki] for giving me this opportunity. I look forward to meeting my teammates, staff and of course the fans.”
According to Okazaki, the Dragonflies have long targeted Sotto but the Filipino was focused on getting drafted into the NBA last year.
“As I mentioned above, I thought Kai was going to be fitting our basketball style. We sent him an offer early on, but his ultimate goal was going to the NBA and he wanted to earn experience in Australia, so we gave up that time. Since then, we have continued negotiations and communication with an eye on this season and next season,” said Okazaki.
“For example, we explain to him our philosophy, our basketball practice environment, our culture, and the meaning of playing basketball in the City of Peace, Hiroshima His thought of changing his environment and our one of objectives, getting a new Asian Player matched in the best timing.”
Sotto will head to Hiroshima before going to Manila for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ window 6.
He is expected to make his B.League debut on March 8 when the Dragonflies take on the Ryukyu Golden Kings, who has Carl Tamayo.
It is expected that both Filipino stalwarts will play in the contest.
Ironically, Sotto and Tamayo will once again face off during the final weekend of the regular season in May.
Hiroshima is currently second in the west district with a 27-9 record — tied with Ryukyu and Nagoya.
And Hiroshima has high expectations of Sotto.
“If Kai Sotto joins our team, we are able to run the Big Line up and create a new rotation. We also will have a huge advantage for simply inside of the paint with his height and talent,” said the general manager.
“I know that all I said before is just a plan, and basketball is not based on just numbers however clinching rebound by first try would affect both offense and defense.”