Kai Sotto shows off skills during workout in pursuit of his NBA dream

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Filipino basketball star Kai Sotto of the 36ers drives to the basket during the round 21 NBL match between New Zealand Breakers and Adelaide 36ers at MyState Bank Arena on April 24, 2022, in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)
Filipino basketball star Kai Sotto of the 36ers drives to the basket during the round 21 NBL match between New Zealand Breakers and Adelaide 36ers at MyState Bank Arena on April 24, 2022, in Hobart, Australia. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

Homegrown talent Kai Sotto joined a pre-draft workout with the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday (June 15) with hopes of following the footsteps of his fellow Filipino-blooded NBA players Jalen Green and Jordan Clarkson.

The 7-foot-2 Filipino center had recently averaged 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in the 23 games he played with his National Basketball League (NBL) team, the Adelaide 36ers. On April 10, he chalked up a career-high 21 points against the Brisbane Bullets, helping him achieve a staggering 39 shooting percentage—a rare feat for players of his height and position.

After a strong season in the NBL, he formally announced his declaration for the 2022 NBA draft on April 28. “Please pray for and support me during my quest to fulfill my ultimate dream,” wrote the 20-year-old Sotto in his announcement.

Despite suffering an ankle injury earlier this month during his workout with the Atlanta Hawks, his recent workout with the Sacramento Kings is his sixth known pre-draft workout, after having attended those of the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Chicago Bulls.

Fellow players Jacob Gilyard, Fatts Russell, Yoan Makoundou, Karlo Matkovic, and Yannick Nzosa joined him in the workout.

Current assistant coach for Sacramento’s G League Affiliate Stockton Kings and former Gilas Pilipinas captain Jimmy Alapag had also posted a photo with Sotto on Instagram, telling him, “The entire country and I are rooting for you.”

Although Green and Clarkson are of Filipino descent, Sotto would make history as the first native Filipino to be drafted to the NBA if selected.

The 2022 NBA draft will be held on June 23 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and it will be the annual draft’s first normal scheduling in two years after it was postponed in 2020 and 2021 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Antonio Gabriel D. Tongco is a writer and communication major who also likes to explore other facets of writing such as research and SEO. The views expressed are his own.

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