MANILA – Kai Sotto will make a towering presence in Tuesday's SMC-PSA Annual Awards Night at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
This, as the 7-foot-2 high school student from Ateneo will be recognized with the Mr. Fan Favorite "Manok ng Bayan" Award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association when it holds its traditional gala on February 26.
Sotto is the second "Manok ng Bayan" awardee honored by the country's oldest media organization, in partnership with Chooks-to-Go, after PBA star Terrence Romeo.
This early, the 15-year-old Sotto is already being tabbed as the future of Philippine basketball thanks to his height and skills.
The son of former PBA player Ervin Sotto, the towering teenager anchored the country's campaign in the FIBA U-16 Asian Championship in Foshan, China last year. He produced a monster game of 28 points, 21 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks in a memorable quarterfinal 72-70 quarterfinal win over Japan, which sent the Philippines to the FIBA U-17 World Cup in Argentina.
He also paired up with another budding Filipino prospect in AJ Edu in the FIBA U-18 Asia Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand, where they helped the country qualify to the FIBA U-19 World Cup in Greece later this year.
Sotto also helped the Blue Eaglets win the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball title, where he emerged as the Finals MVP. He was the MVP of the UAAP Season 81 tournament.
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 to become part of the 23-man Philippine pool already preparing for the 2023 World Cup to be held here.
Owing to his potential, Sotto already received serious offers to play from international ballclubs, including suiting up for Real Madrid’s youth team.
Sotto is expected to stand out of 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, Mighty Sports, and the Philippine Basketball Association.
Highlight of the affair though is the bestowing of the coveted Athlete of the Year award to weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go.
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