Before packing his bags for Hiroshima, Japan, Kai Sotto made his Adelaide 76ers’ team and Filipino fans proud by bagging the Fans Most Valuable Players trophy for the second straight season.
As he brings his acts to the Japan B-League, Sotto hopes that another Filipino also be given an opportunity to play in Australia’s National Basketball League.
“It’s a dream come true playing at this level. Playing for the 36ers is a dream come true and I just hope more Filipinos can come to this league,” said Sotto during his acceptance speech late Tuesday (PH time).
Sotto’s two-year stint with the 36ers may not have been MVP-like in its real sense, but it still showed his potential as a National Basketball Association material.
The FANS MVP award, which is decided by online fans’ voting, has nothing to do with the player’s statistical performance, but reflects the number of his online followers.
Obviously, Sotto’s bulk of voters were Filipino fans, who vowed to support him as he leaves the National Basketball League to play for two months for the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the Japan B-League.
He is set to make his B-League debut against fellow Filipino import Carl Tamayo and the Ryukyu Golden Kings, but not after seeing action with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ window 6 on Feb. 26 to 29.
Sotto’s ultimate dream remains to make the NBA, after going undrafted in the Rookie Draft last year, making him an unrestricted free agent.
He went back to the NBL and showed what he can do in the NBA, when his NBL team faced the Phoenix Suns in an NBA pre-season in October last year.
Sotto scored 11 points in 18 minutes as Adelaide became the first Australian professional squad to beat an NBA team.
That could be one of the reasons why NBA teams are now looking at Sotto. Reportedly, six NBA teams are set to invite him to the NBA summer league.