Philippine basketball pride Kai Sotto reaffirmed his commitment to the Philippine national men’s basketball team program despite his contract to play with the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League.
Sotto made the reassurance to answer the “call for flag and country” from his training camp at the Kaiju Academy in Hamilton, Ohio, stressing his desire to join Gilas Pilipinas in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga, from June 16 to 20.
“Playing for the national team is the top goal of any athlete,” Sotto told a recent online press conference hosted by Smart. “I’m thankful that my goal and Smart’s goal is the same, to inspire the next generation of young Filipinos.”
The 7’3” center, Smart Communications Inc.’s (Smart), newest ambassador, also committed to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia, in July.
“We’ve been following Kai for a long time, since his Ateneo and Batang Gilas days,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and president and CEO of Smart Communications Inc., said. “He can really be the future of Philippine basketball.”
“He’s only 18 years old, but he’s achieved so much, and we’re rooting for him as he achieves his goals,” added Panlilio of the new face of Smart. “He represents and inspires the youth to live big on their passions. He shares his journey to his followers while pursuing to fulfill his career goals at such a young age.”
Sotto’s training at the Kaiju Academy is part of goal to become the first full-blooded Filipino to play in the National Basketball Association. He thanked Smart Communications Inc. for helping him achieve his dream.
“Smart has been there for me since my high school career, that’s where it all started. I’m thankful that my goal and Smart’s goal is the same—to inspire the next generation of young Filipinos,” he said.