Ateneo’s seven-foot center Kai Sotto reflected on his last two practice sessions as part of the national team pool before the Blue Eaglets’ match versus UE in the ongoing UAAP Juniors basketball tournament.
“Hoor para sa akin, sa family ko, at sa Ateneo na makasama rito sa national team pool,” said Sotto. “May halong nerbyos, excitement, at saya. Hindi ko rin naman akalain na makakasama ko mga stars na ‘to.”
After leading the Philippines to Seaba gold in May of 2017, the son of former pro player Ervin Sotto talked about a whirlwind year for him. “Nung matapos yung season namin sa Ateneo nung Final Four ng Season 79, parang ang tagal bago magsimula ng Season 80. Gusto ko na agad makabawi.”
“Malaking tulong din yung international tournament ng Seaba kasi best yan ng Southeast Asia,” Kai added. “Now may chance kami manalo tapos napasama pa tayo sa national team pool. So far, okay ang lahat.”
The Blue Eaglet and national team center however balked at being named the top high school player in the land for the fourth consecutive week in the Chooks to Go NBTC 24 rankings. “Hindi ko iniisip yun. Bonus yun. Kung basketbol ang paguusapan, ang goal right now manalo sa UAAP at makatulong sa bayan.”
In his young career, Sotto also explained that he also struggles with the weight of expectations and being a kid.
Ervin explained that Kai used to enjoy simple things such as going with the family to the grocery. But now with all the attention, he tends to shy away from it. “Okay din yung mga fans but sa family, family lang.”
Sotto expressed excitement about working with PBA stars in the national team pool. “Marami tayong matututunan sa mga yan,” he said.