Will Kai Sotto Become The First NBA Player Who Was Born And Raised In The Philippines?

Photo Credit: FIBA PHOTO

Will Kai Sotto Become The First NBA Player Who Was Born And Raised In The Philippines?


Kai Sotto’s goal of becoming the first Filipino homegrown player to make it to the NBA remains unchanged. The 7’2” big man continues to capture everyone’s attention and is already turning heads at International competition.

Recently, a mini documentary was released by Bleacher Report which revolves around the journey and preparation of the young Filipino prospect.



A few important take-aways from the video above are; Kai Sotto is studying the game of Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan; building strength is a top priority; his trainers are preparing Kai to handle the pace and physicality of the NBA.

The NBA has moved from a typical big man bully-ball style of play to a style that maximizes versatility, guard play and shooting. The league today values big men who can do more than just be a traffic cone on offense or defense. We’ve seen centers stretching the floor and do work in the perimeter. On the other hand, one-dimensional traditional big men struggle to find minutes. 

It’s a good thing that Kai is studying Hakeem and Duncan’s game. He will be facing tougher and physical defenders – the ability to score while getting mauled in the paint is something Duncan does best – Kai can learn a thing or two. While Hakeem’s footwork and agile movement in the post is a must-have for the Filipino basketball player, the ability to shoot in the perimeter like Duncan and Hakeem is a skill that he could add to his arsenal.

Given the rare Filipino physique that Kai Sotto possesses, it is well understood that he has a lot of things to improve on. And at first glance, it is his slim and lengthy body. Earlier this year, it was reported that Kai was struggling to make his presence felt in the ‘Basketball Without Borders’ event due to the lack of strength and intensity. But there is no dismay to Sotto’s party as these issues are the things that they’re prioritizing and working upon.

The Filipino phenom is only 17, has a lot of time and is only getting better. Taking his game at International level has been an important factor since he’s getting a better training, an exposure to better competition, a time to adopt to the environment and adjust to the pace and physicality of the game step by step.

The Philippines have endured a tough draught on producing a homegrown NBA talent. The basketball-crazy country emphasizes height as a hindrance to this basketball dream of them. But the draught seems to end soon, as Kai keeps his NBA journey at steady progression. We wonder that we might be seeing the next up-and-coming star of Asia from none-other than the Philippines.


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