Filipinos rally behind Kai Sotto after going undrafted in 2022 NBA Draft

June 24, 2022 - 3:42 PM
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This 2021 file photo shows Kai Sotto. (Philstar.com/File)

(Update 4:05 p.m.) It has been a dismal afternoon for Kai Sotto and the Filipino basketball fans after the 20-year-old prospect was not included in the 2022 NBA Rookie Draft.

The draft happened on July 24, Friday (Manila time) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with over almost 100 participants.

“Thank you to everyone for your support and kind words tonight, I won’t stop pursuing the dream of being in the NBA…..this is not the end,” Sotto said in a tweet.

“I also want to clarify that no decision has been made about me not playing in the summer league,” he also clarified, as his agent told in an earlier interview of Sotto foregoing NBA Summer League offers to join Gilas Pilipinas in the third window of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.

Various reports have shown promising forecasts for Sotto; even some, thought that he could be drafted in the second round of picks.

These made the Filipinos rally behind the seven-foot-three young prospect with high hopes to see a homegrown talent on the NBA stage.

But the night has passed at the Barclays Center and commissioner Adam Silver nor deputy commissioner Mark Tatum mentioned his name for the draft.

Despite this, Filipino basketball fans still expressed that they are proud of Sotto.

“Madraft man or hindi si Kai Sotto, supportahan nalang po natin siya. Hindi po tayo dapat nag hihilahan pababa,” a fan commented on a Facebook stream of the NBA rookie draft.

“Proud parin kami sa’yo Kai, kuha ka nalang ibang kontrata sa ibang bansa,” another fan commented.

“Kai Sotto, drafted or undrafted, should have nothing to be ashamed for. [The] kid went through a ton of workouts, a whole new life in Australia and the US to fulfill the dream of a first full-blooded Filipino in the NBA. From one Filipino to another, we’re very proud of you, Kai!” user @ernestmartin_ said in a tweet.

Eight-division boxing champion and former presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao joined the chorus of Filipinos shouting #PinoyPride.

 

“Even if Kai Sotto did not make it to the NBA as of yet and was not picked in the #NBADraft2022, the most decent thing to do is support a fellow Filipino’s dream. Shouldn’t we do that? Salute to him for pursuing his career dream. It is admirable,” former senatorial aspirant David D’Angelo also said in a tweet.

Sotto’s shot for the world’s top basketball league does not die in the draft. Teams may still sign him to a rookie deal or to any contract before the start of the 2022-2023 season.

Sotto also has an option to join the NBA G-League, or return to the Australian National Basketball League where he finished his pro debut season with averages of 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks.

As of writing, “Kai Sotto” and “Undrafted” landed on the top trends on Twitter, with a combined over 19,000 tweets.

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