KAI Sotto is not leaving Adelaide without another feather in his cap.
The 7-foot-3 Filipino sensation has been named the Australia National Basketball League (NBL) Fans Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second straight season before his departure to the Japan B. League.
Mr. Sotto personally received his award in the ceremony late Tuesday night as the NBL recognized his impact in and outside Australia, especially with the passionate Filipino fans worldwide rallying behind him all throughout.
It’s a fitting swan song for Mr. Sotto after a two-year stint with the 36ers, who was the first international pro team to trust the then Pinoy wunderkind from Ateneo.
The 20-year-old giant earlier this week announced his goodbye from Adelaide and the NBL as he opted to take his talents next in the Japan B. League with the Hiroshima Dragonflies.
Mr. Sotto only signed a short contract for the rest of the ongoing B. League regular season, setting the stage for another attempt in the NBA midway through the year. He’s dreaming to become the first Filipino homegrown player as his ultimate goal down the road.
In Japan, Mr. Sotto is expected to show a glimpse of his ceiling and boost that NBA bid after a limited but still developmental action in the NBL with averages of 6.98 points and 4.48 rebounds on 51-percent clip in over 13 minutes across 56 games.
Hiroshima, at fourth place with a 27-9 card, considers Mr. Sotto as one of the best Asian players today along with NBA stalwarts and Japanese national team members Rui Hachimura (LA Lakers) and Yuta Watanabe (Brooklyn Nets).
Mr. Sotto is also anticipated to fulfill his national team duty with Gilas Pilipinas soon being a member of the 24-man pool for the sixth and final window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Feb. 24-27 against Jordan and Lebanon. — John Bryan Ulanday