Philippines needs Kai Sotto to complete its 3 Bs, beauty pageant, boxing, basketball

In 2018, Catriona Gray, 25, won the fourth Miss Universe crown for the Philippines. In 2019, Filipino boxing legend Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, 40, defeated two much younger opponents namely Adrian “The Problem” Broner, 29, and Keith “One Time” Thurman, 30, who are both fighting out of the United States.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzback, 29, said that the Philippines has are very passionate about three things, beauty pageant, boxing and basketball. With the country currently dominating beauty pageants and boxing, it needs one person to raise its flag in basketball and the first person that comes to mind is Kai Sotto, 16.

Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson has been playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers since 2018. Meanwhile, Sotto is considered the best chance of the Philippines to have a homegrown talent to enter the NBA.

Aside from boxing, Pacquiao also pursued a career in basketball. In 2018, he played for for the Senate Defenders team in the UNTV Cup Season 7.

On July 20, 20219, Pacquiao and Thurman headlined “Welterweight Supremacy” at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. They competed for the unification of the World Boxing Association Welterweight Championship title.

After 12 rounds, Pacquiao was declared the winner via split decision. He improved the professional boxing record of Pacquiao to 62 wins, 7 losses and 2 draws and broke the undefeated record of Thurman, who now has 29 wins and 1 loss.

Including Pacquiao, four Filipino boxers competed at “Welterweight Supremacy.” The other three namely John Leo “The Lion” Dato, 26, Genisis “Cobra” Lagumbay Libranza, 25, and Jay-ar “Hitman” Inson, 28, competed on the undercard.

The MGM Arena was filled with loud and proud Filipinos. One of them was Gray, who was seen literally waving the Philippine flag.

Gray hails from Oas, Albay, Philippines while Pacquiao is from General Santos City, South Cotabato, Philippines.

Sotto is the son of NLEX Road Warrios assistant coach Ervin Sotto. Meanwhile, here is Cleveland Cavaliers player Colin Sotto’s thoughts on Kai’s chances to make it to the NBA:

Kai Sotto gets Philippine flag from #MagingMagiting campaign partners Bounty Agro Ventures, Ayala Foundation

Ervin Sotto, Ruel Maranan, Kai Sotto, Ronald Mascariñas, Celerina Rosales-Amores
Ervin Sotto, Ruel Maranan, Kai Sotto, Ronald Mascariñas, Celerina Rosales-Amores

Chooks-to-Go brand ambassador and basketball prodigy Kai Sotto, 16, received a Philippine flag from officials of #MagingMagiting campaign partners, Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. (BAVI) and Ayala Foundation Inc. (AFI) during a send-off ceremony. He will spend the next two years in the United States to continue training towards his dream of becoming the first Filipino to play in the National Basketball Association.

BAVI president and general manager Ronald Mascariñas and AFI president Ruel Maranan were among those who bid Sotto good luck in his quest. Joining them are AFI corporate communications senior director Celerina Rosales-Amores and the Chooks-to-Go brand ambassador’s father Ervin Sotto, 37.

For two years, Kai, who stands 7’2″, played for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, the Ateneo de Manila University’s collegiate men’s varsity basketball team that plays in the Philippines’ premiere collegiate league University Athletic Association of the Philippines. The team won the UAAP Juniors in the 2017-2018 season.

On March 20, 2019, Kai played his last game for the Ateneo Blue Eaglets. He posted 24 point and eight boards in the team’s loss to the Jalen Green-led FilAm Sports USA in 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals–Supreme 16.

It is Kai’s goal to join the NBA by 2021 or 2022. On March 25, 2019, he took to Instagram to explain his decision to move to the U.S.

Kai is the eldest son of Ervin, a former professional basketball player who last played for Byaheng SCTEX of the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League. Currently, the latter is an assistant coach for the NLEX Road Warriors.

Ervin was the seventh overall pick in the 2004 Philippine Basketball Association draft by the Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs. Before joining NLEX Road Warriors camp, he played for the Shell Turbo Chargers, the Barangay Ginebra Kings, the Air21 Express and the Alaska Aces.

Meanwhile, here is Kai talking about his NBA dream: