Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo not bothered as hyped B.League clash fizzles out
For all the talk on the matchup between Kai Sotto and Carl Tamayo in Japan’s B.League, the first meeting between their ballclubs ended with one of them not satisfied with his performance and the other not playing at all.
None of them, however, are worried.
“I just came here, I understand coach Dai [Oketani], you need to gain his trust to be able to play on the court,” said Tamayo, shortly after his Ryuku Golden Kings spoiled Sotto’s debut with the Hiroshima Dragonflies via an 86-78 victory on Wednesday that he spent on the bench.
“B.League has three imports and they’re really good players. I haven’t had a chance to play my first B.League debut but you know, it’s just part of it, part of the process, just keep working hard,” the 6-foot-7 forward said. “I’ll just keep on working hard so I’ll be prepared if coach Dai needs me. I’m just happy that we won the game.”
Sotto finished with 10 points on four-of-seven shooting and had three blocks, two rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes at Okinawa Arena.
“My performance today is not the best but I believe I can get better since it’s my first day here in this league so I’m still adjusting to [everything]. It’s only gonna get better,” said Sotto, who chatted with Tamayo before the game.
“I was just checking on him, how he was doing. It’s his first time [to play in] the professional [league]. It’s his first time probably away from the Philippines living by himself,” said the 7-foot-3 Sotto, who played for two seasons in the National Basketball League in Australia. “I’ve been through that and I know how it feels. It’s good to see Carl. We played against each other since high school so it’s good to see him.”
Sotto also knows the difficulties of adjusting to overseas basketball, that’s why he didn’t put much weight into Tamayo’s benching.
“It’s understandable, it’s his first year and his first game and he came in towards the middle of the season. I know how good Carl is. It’s the first game of the season for him, the next games you just gotta watch out for Carl because he’s a really good player,” Sotto said.
Tamayo, meanwhile, was happy to have literally a front-row seat for Sotto’s Japan kickoff.
“I’m very happy [for] Kai,” Tamayo said. “I know he really worked hard to be able to play like that right now. Hopefully, he’ll be doing well for the rest of the season.”