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After shrugging off jitters, Kai Sotto unleashes strength

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 08:26 PM February 23, 2018

Kai Sotto and the Ateneo Blue Eaglets. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

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.

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Sotto finished with a ridiculous triple-double of 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 blocks and he credited his fearlessness for his stellar play.

READ: UAAP jrs: Sotto gets triple double as Ateneo overpowers NU in Game 1

“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.

READ: Kai Sotto raring to learn from Gilas seniors 

“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.

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READ: ’23 for 23:’ No rush for young Kai Sotto

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.

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TAGS: Ateneo Blue Eaglets, Basketball, Kai Sotto, Sports, UAAP juniors’ basketball
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