After shrugging off jitters, Kai Sotto unleashes strength
Kai Sotto picked the most opportune time to shake off his doubts.
With Ateneo, which had zero players with finals experience, facing an experience National U in the first game of the Finals of the UAAP Season 80 juniors’ basketball tournament, the 7-foot-2 Sotto worked his magic.
Sotto finished with a ridiculous triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks and he credited his fearlessness for his stellar play.
“My mindset really was to shake off my fear, my nervousness, and even before the game I had to brush off the jitters,” said Sotto in Filipino after Ateneo punished NU 86-70 Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
“I’m in practice every day, so why would I be nervous?”
Eaglets coach Joe Silva had been waiting for a game like this from his giant, and he Sotto did not disappoint.
“Actually, he was playing sub-par. Maybe because Kai is not of shape. I don’t know,” said Ateneo coach Joe Silva. “But we always have a personal relationship and He texted me: ‘Watch out for it coach, this it it. I got you coach.'”
“You saw the real Kai Sotto, He is a man of his words,” he added.
Sotto solidified his shot-blocking presence late in the second quarter, rejecting two straight attempts with the latter one bouncing off the face of Paolo Javillonar.
That proved to be the spark of Blue Eaglets’ game-changing 33-5 run that put Ateneo ahead, 50-35, and for good.
Sotto revealed just unleashed all that pent up emotion on the floor against the Bullpups.
“I was really excited, and I just released all of it because if I kept it all in I might make some mistakes,” said Sotto. “Dad and the coaches told me that we were lucky enough to have a two-week break so I had time to practice and lift weights.”
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.