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Filipino hoops phenom Kai Sotto takes LaMelo Ball route, joins NBL’s Adelaide 36ers

Kai Sotto, LaMelo Ball, NBL

Filipino basketball standout Kai Sotto is reportedly signing a multi-year deal with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. This was the same route Charlotte Hornets rookie sensation LaMelo Ball took before taking his talents to the NBA. 

Sotto, who’s eligible to declare for the upcoming NBA Draft, was previously committed to the G League Ignite Team but the partnership did not work out after the 18-year-old went home to the Philippines in hopes of suiting up for the national squad. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, squashed his plans.

The 7’2″ unicorn has shown a lot of potential especially during his high school years which he spent playing for the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eaglets—arguably the most prestigious basketball program in the Philippines today.

NBL commissioner Jeremy Leliger said in a statement they are excited to have fast-rising players like Sotto.

“The NBL is one of the best leagues in the world and a great league to develop players like Kai Sotto who want to take their game to the next level by playing alongside seasoned professional players in a super competitive league.” 

Prior to committing to the G League, Sotto had a few suitors from professional teams, most notably from the EuroLeague. Kai Sotto has made it clear from the get-go that his dream is to play in the NBA so his experience with the 36ers could hopefully help him achieve just that. If he does, he will be the first full-blooded Filipino to make it to the NBA.