Jalen Green hopeful that Kai Sotto can make the cut in the NBA

·3 min read
Houston Rockets' Jalen Green (left) and Adelaide 36ers Kai Sotto (right). (Photos: Green - Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Sotto - Sarah Reed/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets' Jalen Green (left) and Adelaide 36ers Kai Sotto (right). (Photos: Green - Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Sotto - Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets’ Jalen Green is the latest to throw in his support for Filipino center Kai Sotto in the latter’s dream to make it to the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Green returned to the Philippines for adidas’ JG4 Manila Tour on Wednesday (August 10), where he “reconnected” with his Filipino heritage by visiting Ilocos Sur landmarks and hosting a basketball clinic among other activities. In an interview last Friday, Green said that Sotto, whom he briefly played with in the NBA G League Ignite, is “just on a different journey right now.”

“Everyone has their own path and this is his story. He can make it what he wants to. I think he loves the game and wants to get to the league so I think he's going to achieve it,” Green said regarding his former teammate. He also competed against Sotto in the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC) Championships in 2018 and 2019.

Sotto went undrafted in this year’s NBA Drafts, and reunited with Australia’s Adelaide 36ers for the National Basketball League’s (NBL) second season. Afterwards, he suits up once again for Gilas Pilipinas (alongside Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson) in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this August.

Much like what basketball phenomenon Jeremy Lin advised, Green hoped that Sotto would never give up on his dream.

“Anybody can get to the NBA. All around the world. It's a worldwide league. You just gotta put your mind to it, stick to the grind. Don't lose yourself because you had a tough day or you feel like nothing's going your way, that's where you're really going to prevail the most,” Green urged.

A homecoming

The adidas tour and his previous visits to the country were not the only times Green had the chance to connect with his Filipino roots. His great-grandfather and his mother Bree Purganan both hailed from Ilocos Sur.

In a Q&A session during the tour, Green looked back on the time he attended the Rockets’ Filipino Heritage Night last October 2021, when the latter team played against Utah Jazz. He also encountered Clarkson, also a Filipino-American, during the event.

“I got some shoes customized for the whole thing, I didn't play in them because they're size 14, and I'm [size] 13, but I threw them into the crowd, I felt the love in the building,” Green said. He also described the idea of the JG4 tour “super cool.”

Speaking with 24 Oras Weekend about his and mother’s bond in a one-on-one interview, Green recalled how Purganan inspired his morals. When asked how he dealt with bashing in his rookie days, he said that “the most important thing I learned [is] just to believe in myself and trust my work.”

Reuben Pio Martinez is a news writer who covers stories on various communities and scientific matters. He regularly tunes in to local happenings. The views expressed are his own.

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