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Black impressed with Sotto improvement

/ 04:01 AM April 25, 2021

There are a few people who were able to take a close, good look at teen prodigy Kai Sotto when he was in town last February.

One of them is Norman Black, the Meralco coach who is also one of the best players to suit up in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

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Sotto, according to Black, has improved vastly, even refusing to call him as a teenager.

“He’s a man now,” he said with a chuckle during an appearance in former PBA chief Noli Eala web-radio show Power and Play on Saturday.

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“Definitely, Kai has improved a lot. From his high school days in Ateneo up to this point, he has become a much stronger player, a much more aggressive player. I was really impressed with him in the practices,” Black went on.

“I thought that he would’ve helped the Gilas a lot if he would have played against the South Korean team in the tournament that was coming up, which was supposed to take place last February.”

Black was with Sotto when Gilas Pilipinas held camp inside a bubble at Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna province, preparing for the third and final window of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup Qualifiers.

“My personal feeling is … yes, whatever he’s doing in the [United] States is working. He has improved his game a great deal. His strength has improved,” the decorated mentor said of Sotto.

But as swift as he was with his praises for the 7-foot-3 prospect, Black was also cautious with his take on whether Sotto is National Basketball Association (NBA)-ready.

“I’m not sure whether he’s ready for the NBA at this moment. I think he has still to improve more, I think he has become a bit more powerful around the basket,” said Black, who once suited up for the Detroit Pistons during the ‘80s.

“It’s either he has to become more powerful around the basket or he has to really perfect his three-point shot—one or the other,” he said.

Black said that the NBA is an entire class of its own: “The best players in the world are in there.” INQ

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