BEN Mbala is impressed with Kai Sotto’s skills, saying the teenager needs only to bulk up to be able to match up with some of the best big men in the top school leagues in the country.
The 22-year-old Mbala got to test the mettle of a prospect who is eight years his junior when La Salle took on the Batang Gilas in the Fr. Martin Cup preseason tournament.
La Salle overpowered the national youth team and the 6-foot-10 Sotto was clearly overmatched in the paint against the a hefty 6-foot-8 Mbala, but the Cameroonian UAAP MVP saw potential in the young center.
“He is pretty tall and I feel like he has a great potential,” said Mbala, easily the most dominant big man in last year's UAAP wars.
“I’m sure he will be focusing on building his upper body and be a little bit stronger. The height is there, the skills is there, but he needs to bulk up a little bit.
“But I’m sure, he will get there,” said Mbala.
The 14-year-old Sotto actually managed to put up some good shots against Mbala and the Archers and wound up with nine points.
Mbala said the final score doesn’t reflect how good Sotto and the rest of a Batang Gilas team preparing for the 2017 Seaba Under-16 Championship already are.
“I felt like the result of this game should not be a problem for them because they are still a work in progress. They are focusing right now on the team chemistry and how to play as a team. They have young talent, and they will find a way for them to jell,” said Mbala.
La Salle coach Aldin Ayo agreed.
“I think malakas. Galing kasi ako probinsya, hawak ko doon high school. Sila, sobrang angat sila. Makaka-compete sila against college teams,” Ayo said.