Teams pass up Kai Sotto at NBA Rookie Draft

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2022 12:38 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2022 01:40 PM

 Sotto’s next plan? To commit to play for Gilas

(UPDATE) Kai Sotto – along with his countrymen – would have to wait a little while longer to fulfill his NBA dreams after teams passed up the big man at the Rookie Draft on Friday (Manila time).

With his size, Sotto appeared to be the one who would break through and become the first homegrown Filipino to be drafted in the league.

He had been thought of as a late second-rounder.

But the night came and went at Barclays Center in Brooklyn without Sotto's name being called.

“I can’t explain the feeling, but it’s not a good feeling obviously,” Sotto said in a “Playitright TV” interview immediately after the Draft.

“I know I really worked hard and I really did my best to get here.”

Joel Bell, Sotto’s agent, said the 7-foot-3 center will return to Manila.

“I’ve already gotten several Summer League invites for him, but Kai’s decided to play with the Filipino national team. That’s his commitment,” Bell said in the same “Playitright TV” interview.

“So he’s gonna pass up Summer League.”

The former Ateneo high-school standout left the Blue Eagles program in March 2019 and flew to the US hoping to sharpen his skills and prepare for a career in the NBA.

He signed up with The Skills Factory in Atlanta, before moving to the G League.

But his stint on the Ignite team composed of some top NBA prospects – which included Houston Rockets All-Rookie Team member Jalen Green – never resulted in any meaningful action, as he left the squad to join Gilas Pilipinas for the Asian Cup qualifiers.

In March 2021, Sotto announced he was joining Australian NBL club Adelaide 36ers, then a year later he declared for the NBA Rookie Draft.

Ahead of the Draft, he worked out with the Orlando Magic, the Indiana Pacers, and the Sacramento Kings, where Gilas legend Jimmy Alapag is an assistant coach.