TOP basketball prospect Kai Sotto will be a towering presence in Tuesday’s SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
The 7-foot-2 high school star from Ateneo will be the latest to be recognized with the Mr Fan Favorite ‘Manok Ng Bayan’ Award by the country’s sportswriting fraternity when it holds the traditional gala night presented by MILO, Cignal TV, and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Sotto is the second ‘Manok ng Bayan’ awardee to be honored by the country’s oldest media organization in partnership with Chooks To Go after PBA star Terrence Romeo.
This early, Sotto, 16, is already being dubbed the future of Philippine basketball owing to his size and immense skills never before seen from a young budding Filipino player.
The son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto bannered the country’s campaign in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship in Foshan, China last year in which he produced a monster game of 28 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, and three block shots in a memorable quarterfinal win over Japan, 72-70, that earned for the Philippines a berth in the FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina.
He also paired up with another budding Filipino prospect AJ Edu in the FIBA U18 Asia Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand where they helped the country qualify to this year’s FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
In the local front, he helped the Ateneo Blue Eaglets win the 2018 UAAP juniors basketball championship, where he emerged as the Finals MVP.
Sotto was also tapped by coach Yeng Guiao to be part of the training pool for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, and earlier was included by former national mentor Chot Reyes in the 23-man Philippine pool for the 2023 World Cup to be held here.
Owing to his potential, Sotto already received offers from international ballclubs, including one from Real Madrid’s youth team.
With his towering height, Sotto is expected to stand out among the 74 awardees to be feted during the special ceremony also backed by Chooks To Go, NorthPort, Rain or Shine, Tapa King, SM Prime Holdings, Smart Sports, Mighty Sports, and the Philippine Basketball Association.
Highlight of the affair is the bestowing of the coveted Athlete of the Year award on weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go.