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    Tab hopeful Kai Sotto made 'right decision' in joining NBA draft

    Apr 28, 2022

    FORMER Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin is just as ecstatic as any other Filipino following the news of Kai Sotto declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft.

    "Well I'm excited for him," said the Ateneo coach. "I can't make any qualitative assessment of that, but Kai and his people know much better what his standing is with the NBA teams and I'm sure they've been in touch with teams.

    "I think, like all the rest of Filipinos, I'm just excited for the opportunity that he might get drafted. And if he does, then he gets a real chance to make a roster and it would be a dream come true for this basketball-crazy country."

    [See Kai Sotto declares for 2022 NBA Rookie Draft]

    Sotto made the stunning announcement on Thursday after just one season in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia.

    The 7-foot-3 center posted averages of 7.6 points on 51-percent field goal shooting, including a 39-percent clip from deep, as well as 4.5 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 15.2 minutes in 23 games for the Adelaide 36ers.

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    Baldwin, who handled Sotto last year with the national team during the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark and in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade last year, has kept tab on the 19-year-old even as he took his act Down Under and was happy to see the Filipino wunderkind put in the work.

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      "I'm sure Kai is excited and nervous, but he's worked really hard," he said.

      "He had a good season in Adelaide and that was a good place for him to be, I believe. There's a lot of talented big men in that league and he held his own. He had a good season."

      The question now, though, is was that enough all the more with mock drafts not going in Sotto's favor.

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        Baldwin sure is praying that it is.

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        "I hope it's the right decision," he said. "I can't make any assessment as to whether it is or not. But we just wish him well. All of us Ateneans, we still believe he's one of us, and we're very proud of what he's accomplished so far, and hopeful that there would be a lot more of his story to be told at the highest level."

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