KAI Sotto has taken his talents from Australia to Japan to play for the Hiroshima Dragonflies.
The Dragonflies yesterday announced the signing of the 7-foot-3 Filipino sensation, who they consider as one of the best players in Asia at only 20 years old.
“Same as Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe, Kai Sotto who is drawing so much attention from all around the globe, is also a highly talented player and will be one of the best Asian Players,” said Hiroshima general manager Shuji Okazaki.
“I am looking forward to playing for the Hiroshima Dragonflies. I want to do everything I can so that the Dragonflies, who are aiming to advance to the B. League Championship, have a great season,” added Mr. Sotto.
Mr. Sotto’s transfer to the Japan B. League from the Australia National Basketball League (NBL) came just two days following the early exit of his previous team, the Adelaide 36ers, for the second straight season of his tenure.
The Gilas Pilipinas mainstay right after the 36ers’ 116-107 defeat against Melbourne United said that it’s already his last game in the NBL, accepting an offer to a different overseas league he did not disclose yet until yesterday.
He played for a total of 56 games in two seasons for Adelaide, registering 6.98 points and 4.48 rebounds on 51-percent clip in over 13 minutes of play. He served as the team’s starting center for the majority of this year.
In Japan with an expected longer playing time and more active role, Mr. Sotto is bound to unleash his full potential especially with a Hiroshima side needing a formidable anchor inside the paint to take care of the defensive and rebounding duties.
“Kai (Sotto) is going to fit our basketball style. We believe that the addition of Kai will make up for our weaknesses. We also will have a huge advantage for simply inside of the paint with his height and talent,” added Mr. Okazaki.
Hiroshima, which is among the B. League contenders at fourth place so far with a 27-9 card, was the former team of another local ace in Justine Baltazar before they parted ways late last year.
Mr. Baltazar rarely played as the Dragonflies’ Asian import, seeing action in a grand total of 13 minutes in eight games with two points, a rebound, an assist and a steal to show. — John Bryan Ulanday