Filipino teenager Kai Sotto’s decision to take his talents to Adelaide 36ers in Australia's National Basketball League (NBL) has been warmly received by many Filipino hoop fans and some basketball personalities in the Philippines.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painter and former Gilas Pilipinas cager Gabe Norwood congratulated Sotto, who signed for two seasons with an option for a third with 36ers, as confirmed on Wednesday.
Former Ateneo de Manila University star Thirdy Ravena also celebrated the 18-year-old athlete’s announcement.
“Time to represent,” said Ravena, who is playing for San-en NeoPhoenix in Japanese B.League.
AJ Edu, who is suiting up for Toledo Rockets, also shared Sotto’s poster on Instagram Story. Edu played with the former Blue Eaglet during the 2018 FIBA Under-18 Asian Championship in Thailand.
Other players who reacted on Sotto’s new journey were University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons’ Ricci Rivero and Juan Gomez de Liaño, NLEX Road Warrior Anthony Semerad, and even NBA player Jaxson Hayes of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The development comes after Sotto left the NBA G League's Ignite program, in a mutual decision with the team.
Ignite offered NBA-level coaching both on and off the court to prepare elite prospects for an NBA career, but Sotto left the team without playing a single game for the squad.
Sotto is signed under the NBL's "Special Restricted Player" rule that allows the club and the NBL to build on strong relationships within the FIBA Asia region.
In the 36ers, Sotto will be coached by American Conner Henry, who briefly played in the NBA in the late 1980s. He has previously coached in the NBA G League, as well as in the NBA for the Orlando Magic.
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