THE Filipino basketball community in Australia is excited to witness Kai Sotto's debut in the National Basketball League (NBL) nears.
The Filipino teen star is set to start his first season Down Under with the Adelaide 36ersin November.
"It's been a massive impact for us," said Homegrown Basketball Australia's Karlo Angelo Basa.
Filipino fans have followed Sotto's travails as seen in the NBL's growth in social media since he made the announcement last April.
"That just shows you the magnitude of his pull and the gravitas that he has for not just the Filipino community, but also for basketball at wide," he said.
It's a growth not only felt in Australia but also in the Philippines.
"We want to use that as a catalyst to try to increase the profile not just for basketball but also for NBTC, and the program itself," Basa, who will oversee the Australia chapter of the NBTC Global Games in 2022.
Homegrown Basketball Australia has participated in the NBTC National Finals for the past few years under the banner of AusPinoy and was able to open the doors for prospects to be recruited by schools in the Philippines.
Among them include Cade Flores, Travis Mantua, and Danielle Mallari (Far Eastern University) and Royce Mantua (University of Santo Tomas).
The winning club earns a slot in the NBTC National Finals in 2023 featuring top high school teams in the Philippines.
There are Fil-Aussies who have been tapped by Philippine schools, namely Brandon Bates and Jared Abadam (La Salle), James Spencer (University of the Philippines), and Jerwyn Guinto (San Sebastian/ Lyceum), while some received offers yet chose to head back home including Jasper Rentoy (University of the East/ College of St. Benilde) and Ethan Kirkness (UP).
Fil-Aussie player Bradwyn Guinto of Rain or Shine is now in his sixth season in the league, while special Gilas draftee Jordan Heading was picked first by Terrafirma in the PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft.