IF there is anyone who knows what’s best for Kai Sotto, it is his family.
That is the opinion of Tim Cone, one of most respected coaches in the Philippines, who said that, ultimately, it will be the call of Sotto’s parents on whether the 7-foot-1 prodigy stays put in the Philippines or accepts an offer to play overseas.
Sotto, 17, is being lured by agents to sign with European teams including Real Madrid, which reportedly dangled a five-year $1 million offer to play for one of the most successful franchises in the Spain league.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin was one of the coaches who said it will be better for Sotto to stay in the Philippines and be trained here, owing in large part to his young age.
Cone wants no part in the debate.
“I think it’s totally up to him and his dad,” said Cone. “I don’t think that it’s up to the rest of us to form an opinion. I think that they know what they want to do. They have a dream, they have an idea, they have a pathway, and for me to say that this is wrong or that’s wrong is completely (wrong), I don’t think we should do that.
“I know other coaches have chimed in but I don’t want to chime in,” Cone said.
Cone, however, said he is open to offer advice privately if Sotto’s father Ervin asks for it. Ervin played for Cone from 2008 to 2011 when the two-time grand slam winner was still calling the shots for Alaska.
“If Ervin wants to come to me and ask me privately what do I think, give him advice, then I’ll be happy to do it. But I don’t think publicly, we should be pushing him one way or the other,” said Cone.
Sources said Sotto will be suiting up for Ateneo in the coming juniors basketball season of the UAAP before entertaining offers to play elsewhere.
Cone said Sotto is a 'special talent' and is therefore a special case.
“I think that’s totally up to the family. I think he is a special talent and a special case. Again, he should not be pulled here or there by outside forces,” said Cone.