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Padrigao, Chiu glad good pal Sotto decided to make NBA Draft leap


The groundbreaking news of Kai Sotto announcing his intentions to join the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft sent shockwaves around the world.

In fact, even his close friends and former teammates Forthsky Padrigao and Geo Chiu were taken by surprise about Sotto’s latest career decision.

After hearing the news, both Padrigao and Chiu could only express their excitement and offer their support to Sotto in his journey to the NBA.

2017-fiba-u16-asia-gilas-kai-sotto Padrigao, Chiu glad good pal Sotto decided to make NBA Draft leap ADMU Basketball NBA Philippines News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Photo from FIBA.basketball

“Actually ako, kaninang umaga ko lang nalaman ‘yung news about Kai,” Padrigao shared. “Excited ako for him kasi alam namin parehas kung ano ‘yung pinagdaanan ni Kai and ‘yung hirap niya para maabot niya ‘yung dream niya. Dito lang naman kami lagi for him, suporta lang kami lagi.

“Exciting kasi ito ‘yung first NBA draft na talagang papanoorin ko.”

2017-SEABA-U16-Philippines-def-Indonesia-Kai-Sotto-dunk Padrigao, Chiu glad good pal Sotto decided to make NBA Draft leap ADMU Basketball NBA Philippines News UAAP  - philippine sports news“Just like what Forthsky said, siyempre we’re just like the rest. Lahat kami sobrang excited for him, for his career since alam nga namin lahat ng pinagdaanan niya and pinagdaanan namin lahat,” Chiu added.

“Nag-start kami sa SEABA pa so anlayo ‘nung pinagsamahan namin. Kilalalang kilala na namin siya and ‘yung mga things na kaya niyang gawin.”

All three have played together in the 2017 SEABA Under-16 Championship held in the Philippines where the Gilas Youth team snagged the gold medal. Shortly after, the trio also saw action in the 2017 FIBA Under-16 Asian Championship which resulted in a fourth-place finish for the national team.

In the UAAP High School Boys’ Division, they suited up together for the Blue Eaglets back in Season 81 where Sotto earned league MVP honors.

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A couple of years later, both Sotto and Chiu were reunited as Gilas teammates once again during the 2021 Asian Cup Qualifiers and the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Belgrade, Serbia under the tutelage of Coach Tab Baldwin.

2021-fiba-oqt-belgrade-gilas-kai-sotto-x-geo-chiu Padrigao, Chiu glad good pal Sotto decided to make NBA Draft leap ADMU Basketball NBA Philippines News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Photo from FIBA.basketball

During their brief stint together on the national team, Chiu claimed that he was a witness to Sotto’s continuous improvement as a basketball player.

“Naging teammate ko rin siya recently, grabe rin ‘yung improvement niya so lahat kami excited and pinagdadasal nalang namin siya”, the 6-foot-9 big man shared.

“Continue praying for him, especially with his decision and siyempre kahit anong mangyari nandito lang naman kami sa likod niya supporting him always.”

Both players also got to share a conversation with Sotto when he recently made the trip back to the Philippines after concluding his stint in the NBL with the Adelaide 36ers. At that time, they still didn’t have a clue that Sotto already had intentions of joining the draft.

2021-22-NBL-Season-Adelaide-Kai-Sotto Padrigao, Chiu glad good pal Sotto decided to make NBA Draft leap ADMU Basketball NBA Philippines News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Photo by Adelaide 36ers/NBL

“Actually ‘nung last na nakausap namin si Kai sabay kami ni Forthsky ‘nung isang araw. Nagulat nalang kami na nasa Philippines na pala siya, ‘di kami updated eh,” Chiu said. “Nagulat nalang kami na nandito na siya and kinamusta lang namin siya overall eh that time ‘di pa naman niya sinabi samin na mag-eenter siya ng draft so we were clueless as well.”

They also made it a point to not talk about anything related to basketball in order to give Sotto ample time to rest and recover after a grueling NBL season where his team finished with a 10-18 record.

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“Di rin namin muna siya tinanong about basketball and anything kasi alam namin na umuwi siya dito para mag-relax muna, spend time with his family,” Padrigao added.

“Wala namang basketball talk ‘nung nag-usap kami.”

Though all three players have taken different paths in their respective basketball careers, it is safe to say that they have formed a bond that they will cherish for the years to come.

Both Padrigao and Chiu, together with the rest of the Pinoy basketball fans, will be hoping that a full-fledged Filipino in the form of Sotto would finally get drafted and set foot in the NBA come June 23rd.

All UAAP games stream live on GigaPlay presented by Yamaha. Download it now on Android or IOS.SMART-x-Yamaha Padrigao, Chiu glad good pal Sotto decided to make NBA Draft leap ADMU Basketball NBA Philippines News UAAP  - philippine sports news

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