Fajardo says teen prodigy Kai Sotto is for real: 'Future s'ya ng Gilas at PBA'
"Walang duda 'yun," says June Mar Fajardo when asked if teenager Kai Sotto can surpass his accomplishments in the PBA. Jerome Ascano

KAI Sotto is so tall and so long he barely jumped to touch the bottom of the backboard at the Meralco Gym in between drills during Gilas Pilipinas' training on Monday.

Witnesses couldn't help but marvel at the teen's size as well as his athleticism, which was on full display during the light practice supervised by head coach Chot Reyes.

One of those impressed was June Mar Fajardo, who was the first to say the kid is for real.

The four-time MVP said Sotto may even surpass what he has accomplished in the league given his size and skills, which, at 15, only need some fine-tuning.

"Oo, malalampasan (ako), walang duda 'yun," Fajardo said. "Ang tangkad niya, 6-10 ako tapos nasa 7-1 na yata siya. Nag-usap nga kami ni Japeth (Aguilar) ngayon pag pasok ni Kai, sabi namin, 'Wala na, dadakdakan na kami nun eh." 

The last time they had a picture together, Fajardo remembered being just as tall as Sotto.

"Dati halos konti lang lamang niya eh, ngayon sobra na," he recalled.

Imagine how big and strong the Ateneo juniors standout is bound to become in five years when the Philippines co-hosts the 2023 Fiba World Cup, Fajardo said.

For now, Fajardo said what the lanky Sotto needs to do is to strengthen his body.

"Grabe yung potential niya, sobrang bright ng future niya. Kailangan lang niya mag-practice ng mabuti. Kailangan ng disiplina sa sarili at kailangan niya magpalakas ng katawan din," Fajardo said.

"Big man siya eh so banggaan 'yun. Pero so far naman, maganda naman. Grabe, kita n'yo 'yung paano siya dumakdak? Talagang baon talaga yung bola sa dunk niya.

"Future siya ng Gilas at ng PBA."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros