The decision is final.
On an Instagram post early Monday, March 25, Ateneo Blue Eaglet and UAAP Season 81 Juniors Division MVP Kai Sotto announced his decision to leave the Philippines to pursue his NBA dream overseas.
This came after having been presented with opportunities to train abroad, to which his father and other experienced mentors assessed as the right exposure to realize his dream.
In the local high school basketball scene, the 7-foot-2 center has always been a force to reckon with. Now that his eyes are on the world’s premiere professional basketball league, he addressed his Filipino basketball fans and wrote: “Nakapag-decide na po ako at ang pamilya ko. I’ll be leaving soon to start training full-time. I want to devote the next two to three years to single-mindedly focus on my goal of joining the NBA by 2021 or 2022.”
While Sotto did not declare the specific details of his overseas training, there have been previous reports that some European ball clubs have offered him to train with them—some of which are EuroLeague’s Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Baskonia, Bundesliga’s Alda Berlin, and Liga ACB’s Movistar Estudiantes.
Sotto’s last game with the Eaglets lifted Ateneo to a runner-up finish. And while the 16-year-old prodigy still has two years of eligibility to play in the UAAP Juniors, he strongly feels for leaving immediately to start the training is necessary.
The decision obviously wasn’t made overnight. “Pinag-isipan ko po ito [nang] mabuti. I will train very hard and sacrifice and focus in the next few years so that one day soon, you will be very proud of me,” he wrote.
Sotto also made it clear that his decision to train internationally doesn’t undermine his love for the country.
“Gagawin ko po lahat ng makakaya ko […] to be the very best that I can be. Para po ito sa future ko, ng pamilya ko, at especially po, para sa Batang Gilas, Gilas Pilipinas at higit sa lahat, para sa bayan!”
Sotto asks for prayers as he sets forth on this life-changing journey, and become the first full-blooded Filipino to ever play in the NBA.
Featured image courtesy of Lyle Marquez.
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