THE height and skills are already there. Now, handlers of promising teenage cage prospect Kai Sotto are looking to bulk him up.
The nutrition aspect was among the major issues discussed when the 6-foot-9 prodigy met with longtime Ateneo backer and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan on Wednesday night at the VIP lounge of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The incoming Ateneo junior recruit was accompanied by his father, former PBA player Ervin Sotto, during the short get-together held during halftime of Game Two of the Commissioner’s Cup finals between Meralco and Alaska.
Pangilinan was with Meralco governor Al Panlilio, Tropang TNT counterpart Ricky Vargas, TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio, and MVP Sports executive and Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo.
“It was just a casual meeting. Mr. Pangilinan already met Kai before, but it’s the first time he sat down with the kid and talked to him,” said Quimpo about what transpired during the closed-door meeting.
The former Ateneo player mentioned about working on Sotto’s nutrition program once he starts playing for the junior team of the Katipunan-based school.
“Mahalaga 'yun. With the right food and right program, makakatulong sa kanyang development yun as a player. Tatangkad pa yan, kaya dapat sabay ng pag-alaga sa katawan niya,” said Quimpo of the skinny, 13-year-old Sotto.
Sitting beside Quimpo, the elder Sotto agreed, recalling that he never really had a substantial nutrition program until he was already in the PBA.
“Ganito na ako nung nagsimula akong bigyan ng program,” said the 34-year-old center, who played in six PBA seasons (2004-2010) and suited up for teams such as Shell, Ginebra, Air21, Coca-Cola, and Alaska.
The Sottos were later invited by the MVP Group to watch the rest of the game which the Bolts won, 92-87, to tie the best-of-five series at 1-1.