Filipino basketball phenom Kai Sotto feels like he never left home when he starts playing for the Adelaide 36ers in the 2020-2021 Australian National Basketball League.
Although he has only played one game in the pre-season, the 19-year-old Sotto said the style of play in Australia is similar to how Filipinos play the game of basketball.
“I don’t really find it difficult, the transition. Because the game of basketball in Australia is similar to the Philippines. It’s more systematic, more fundamentals and team basketball,” said the 7’2” Filipino cager.
Sotto, who discussed his thoughts about playing in the Australian professional league with scribes in a Zoom huddle hosted by Tap Go, is getting ready to suit up for the 36ers when the regular season of the NBL gets going Dec. 3.
The 36ers, under coach CJ Bruton, will have the Perth Wildcats in their first encounter at the RAC Arena, Perth.
Because of the similarities in the playing styles, Sotto said he expects to be able to play better this time around.
Seven months ago, Sotto signed a contract to play for the Adelaide 36ers as a “Special Restricted Player”.
This means that he is treated the same way as a local player and won’t be subjected to the NBL’s import limit.
Sotto’s contract guarantees him two years with the 36ers, with an option to play for a third year.
By then, Sotto expects to have moved on and continued with his plans of entering the National Basketball Association Rookie Draft.
Sotto is transitioning from a different playing style after he signed with the NBA G League last year and joined the G League Ignite team as part of the league’s new developmental program.
Ignite joined the 2020–21 season in a competition played inside a bubble in Florida.
But Sotto, who opted to play for the Gilas Pilipinas national team at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, missed several games with Ignite and was unable to rejoin the team due to issues caused by COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Now that he’s about to plunge into action next week, Sotto said the support of Filipino fans watching on television and even at the playing venues is pumping him up.
“Of course, it’s always different when your countrymen is watching you, supporting you,” said Sotto.
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