Photo from Chooks to Go

Kai Sotto has shown a glimpse of his improved game since deciding to take his talent in the United States last year.

Training under coach Brian Shaw, a three-time NBA champion, Sotto has been working hard in the NBA G League to fulfill his long-time dream of playing in the NBA.

In Team Ignite, a squad full of young elite prospects, the Filipino wunderkind displayed his swift passing and ball-handling skills despite playing the center position.

Read: Jazz guard Clarkson to NBA hopeful Sotto: Keep grinding

Shaw also took notice of Sotto’s improvement on the defensive end, saying he’s learning how to utilize his towering height even more.

“Me being 7-foot-2, I have to learn every spot on the court, every position,” said Sotto in a video posted by the NBA G League on social media. “My game plan is to know my role and to be the best at it, and just to always be there for my coaches and my teammates.”

Early this month, Sotto posted five points, five rebounds and two blocks in the first scrimmage loss against NBA G League veterans, 113-107, before putting up six markers, six boards, and a block in the second scrimmage,125-99, still on a losing effort.

Read: Kai Sotto to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas

Despite the limited numbers, Shaw was quick to point out that Sotto cannot be judged alone by how many points he gets in a game but rather the overall performance, especially in a fast-paced setup.

“I first came to America last year [and] it’s been a bit of a challenge,” added the 18-year-old Sotto. “Since the game is much faster and the players are more athletic.”

Kai, the son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto, moved to the US after an impressive showing in the UAAP juniors division with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets and eventually suited up for Team Ignite, joining  Filipino-American Jalen Green, Congolese Jonathan Kuminga, and Americans Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd.

The former Ateneo standout recently launched an apparel brand called “Kaiju” while his sports academy “Kaiju Academy” is set to open at the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill Complex, the largest indoor sports complex in North America late next year.

Source: Manila Bulletin (