Kai Sotto exempted from Batang Gilas' no-cellphone policy in China. Here's why
Kai Sotto had to attend to his academic obligations at Ateneo during Batang Gilas' campaign in the Fiba U16 Asian Championship in Foshan, China. Marlo Cueto

KAI Sotto stood out on the court in the Fiba Under-16 Asia Championship - and got the job done off it. 

Batang Gilas assistant Josh Reyes bared that Sotto was the only player allowed to hold his cellphone during the duration of the tournament in Foshan, China, but it's not because of special treatment.

Sotto, Reyes said, still needed to attend to his academic obligations at Ateneo when not playing or practicing, hence he was given an exception to the squad's no cellphone policy.

It wasn't hard, Sotto said.

"Nag-focus lang ako sa mga kailangan kong gawin. Siyempre basketball at studies lang muna," said the 7-foot-1 teenager, who anchored the team's fourth-place finish in the tournament.

"Hindi ko masyadong iniintidi yung mga ganitong situations. Focus lang ako sa mga kailangan kong gawin para sa future," he added.

That's why his father, former pro Ervin Sotto, can't be any prouder.

With all the attention that the 15-year-old Blue Eaglets star is getting, the former St. Francis of Assissi standout said he's happy to see his son get his priorities in order.

"Kahit naman sinong parent matutuwa dun kasi hindi niya nakakalimutan yung mga commitments niya," said the elder Sotto.

Knowing that he'll be playing a big part in his son's development not only as an athlete but as a person in the years to come, Sotto vowed to be always be there to offer guidance.

"Yun ang sinasabi ko sa kanya e. Sabi ko lahat ng choices mo sa buhay may consequences yan, mapabuti man o mapasama. Ang nangyayari sa kanya ngayon, andito lang kami para mag-guide sa kanya," Sotto said.

"Sinasabi ko lang sa kanya na andito lang kami ng mommy niya. Kung naguguluhan o nalilito siya, magtanong ka lang sa amin."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @CAJacinto11