Kai Sotto's dreams of turning pro might've been put to a halt as he failed to secure a spot in the NBA Draft, but that doesn't mean his road to becoming a player in the world's best basketball league is over. At 20, we can say that the cager is just getting started on what looks like a long journey ahead!
Just today, June 24, the former Ateneo Blue Eaglets' center skyrocketed to top Twitter trends as Filipinos all over the world showed their support for his NBA bid. He later thanked them via a Twitter post, inspiring everyone that it's not dream over yet, as he tries his luck again soon.
Curious about this trending Gen Z athlete? Scroll down to know more about him.
5 Facts About Kai Sotto:
1. He was formerly part of the UAAP juniors division.
Kai has been playing basketball since he was four years old, but it was his stint at the Ateneo Blue Eaglets that solidified his bright future in sports. In 2018, he led his team to a juniors division championship title and was named the finals MVP. In the following season, he averaged 25 points per game and earned a UAAP juniors MVP award for another outstanding performance.
2. He hails from a family of sports enthusiasts.
Born in 2002, 20-year-old Kai is the eldest son of former PBA star Ervin Sotto and Pamela Sotto. He has two younger siblings, one of which is 6-foot-1 Erin, who looks like she's about to follow in his kuya's footsteps. In May last year, she rubbed elbows with Gilas Pilipinas women head coach Pat Aquino, and Kai himself shared about it on his Insta stories. "Watch out for my 6-foot-1, 11 yr old sister," wrote Kai. Those genes!
3. He stands at 7'3"!
In a country where big men are barely taller than 6 feet 3 inches, Kai towers at 7'3", making him a force to be reckoned with on court! Naturally, he takes his skills up a notch by playing internationally at a young age. In 2019, he left Ateneo to move to the US to advance his basketball career.
4. He hopes to be the first homegrown talent to make it to the NBA.
Today, June 24, Kai vied for a spot in the NBA, with millions of basketball-obsessed Filipinos rallying behind him. Unfortunately, it wasn't the right time yet. "I can't really explain the feeling, but it's not a good feeling. I really worked hard and did my best to get here," Sotto said in his interview on PlayItRight TV moments after the NBA Draft. "But it's what happened. God has better plans for me, and I won't stop," he added.
Despite the sad news, fans didn't fail to express their support for the young Filipino pride, urging him to keep pushing forward to achieve his ultimate dream.
5. He's not letting go of his NBA dream.
With that said, rest assured that the journey is not over for Kai yet. On his official Twitter account, he thanked everyone for their love. "Thank you to everyone for your support and kind words tonight; I won't stop pursuing the dream of being in the NBA…..this is not the end." He also clarified his agent's statement that he'll be forgoing an opportunity to play in the summer league to play for Gilas in the FIBA World Qualifiers Cup. "No decision has been made about me not playing in the summer league. My agent misspoke," he pointed out.
We're always right behind you, Kai!
This story originally appeared on Candymag.com.
*Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.