Young Kai Sotto makes a towering presence in Tuesday’s SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
The 7’2” high school student from Ateneo will be the latest to be recognized with the Mr. Fan Favorite ‘Manok Ng Bayan’ Award by the country’s sportswriting fraternity when it holds the traditional gala night on Feb. 26 presented by MILO, Cignal TV, and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Sotto is the second ‘Manok ng Bayan’ awardee honored by the country’s oldest media organization in partnership with Chooks To Go after PBA star Terrence Romeo.
This early, the 15-year-old Sotto is already being dubbed the future of Philippine basketball owing to his size and immense skills never before seen from a young budding Filipino player.
The son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto bannered the country’s campaign in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship in Foshan, China last year in which he produced a monster game of 28 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, and three blocked shots in a memorable quarterfinal win over Japan, 72-70, that earned for the Philippines a berth in the FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina.
He also paired up with another budding Filipino prospect AJ Edu in the FIBA U18 Asia Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand where they helped the country qualified to this year’s FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
In the local front, he helped the Ateneo Blue Eaglets win the 2018 UAAP juniors’ basketball championship, where he emerged as the Finals MVP.
Sotto was also tapped by coach Yeng Guiao to be part of the training pool for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, and earlier was included by former national mentor Chot Reyes to become part of the 23-man Philippine pool already preparing for the 2023 World Cup to be held here.
Owing to his potential, Sotto already received serious offers to play from international ballclubs, including suiting up for Real Madrid’s youth team.
With his towering height, Sotto is expected to stand out of the 74 awardees to be feted during the special ceremony also backed by Chooks To Go, NorthPort, Rain or Shine, Tapa King, SM Prime Holdings, Mighty Sports, and the Philippine Basketball Association.
Highlight of the affair though is the bestowing of the coveted Athlete of the Year award to weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go.