US training first, then PH team commitment for Kai | Inquirer Sports

US training first, then PH team commitment for Kai

/ 05:01 AM March 27, 2019

With offers from five European teams to consider, Kai Sotto will first fly to Atlanta in the United States to train for two months and represent the country in a major tournament before making any decision on where to play.

And thus begins the quest to make it to the NBA.

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“I will do everything I can to be able to play in the NBA,” Sotto said in Filipino during a press conference on Tuesday as he added a few more details to Monday’s announcement that he was leaving the country to chase after his dream.

There are miles to go in his journey, but at least, the 7-foot-2 prodigy is taking a vital first step.

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“Our first stop is in the US in Atlanta where we will train for two months,” Sotto’s father, former PBA journeyman Ervin, told reporters in Filipino at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

“What he needs is intensive training. His height is there, his skills are there, his IQ for the game is there… what I’m seeing that Kai lacks is strength, and of course competition exposure.”

The young Sotto agreed.

“It has been my disadvantage, especially now that I’m looking at competing in the world level,” Kai said in Filipino. “Here in Asia, I’m already having a hard time so what more in the [global stage]?”

Father and son leave for the US on Monday.

Four professional clubs from Spain and one from Germany have already tendered offers for the Ateneo high school star. The teams are Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Baskonia, Alba Berlin and recently, Movistar Estudiantes.

The two-month US training will also be Sotto’s preparation for the Fiba World U-19 tournament in Greece. Sotto said he would still honor his obligation with Batang Gilas, the country’s junior national team.

Any decision on the next phase of Sotto’s plans will be made after the U-19.

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